Larry L. King, the pioneering journalist and playwright of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, has died today. He was 83.

Although it is his work on stage that has won him the most recognition, King was at first a reporter, a political aide, a raconteur and full-time Texan, who lived fast and somehow died old. It was his time as a journalist, particularly whilst writing for Playboy, when he first rose to prominence as he and others such as Hunter S. Thompson helped define the emerging New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s.

It was his story about the Chicken Ranch, a sordid little business based in southeast Texas, which not only gave him wider recognition as a writer, but also inspired him to write his most well known work: the comedy musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. TBLWIT ran on Broadway for four years when it was released in 1978, and has since been in production across the globe ever since.

His talents were not limited to just writing either, as his Texas drawl was almost as famous as his stories. In 1982, he won an Emmy Award as the writer and narrator of a CBS documentary, 'The Best Little Statehouse in Texas,' an insightful look into the state’s behind-the-scenes horse-trading.

He passed away late on Thursday (Dec 20) at Chevy Chase House, a retirement facility in the District. His wife, Barbara Blaine, said that he struggled with emphysema, which ultimately claimed his life.