Johnny Bench says he's tested positive for the coronavirus and will not be able to attend the upcoming National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The Cincinnati Reds legend announced Friday on social media he was battling the virus despite being vaccinated.
73-year-old Johnny, a Hall of Famer himself, says he's bummed to miss out on seeing the latest Hall of Fame class being inducted into Cooperstown.
The Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday in New York ... and Johnny sounds like he was looking forward to welcoming the Class of 2020, which includes Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker.
Johnny says he's glad he got inoculated because his bout with the virus could have been much worse otherwise ... he says his doctor told him he would have been hospitalized if not for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
11:57 AM PT -- De la Hoya just posted a video from his hospital bed. ODLH wrote ... "Wanted you to hear directly from me that despite being fully vaccinated, I have contracted Covid and am not going to be able to fight next weekend."
"Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, and I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up. God bless everyone and stay safe."
11:38 AM PT -- Our Oscar sources tell us the boxing legend -- despite being fully vaccinated -- has been hit hard by COVID ... and is receiving treatment in the hospital.
58-year-old Evander Holyfield has agreed to step in and box Belfort on September 11 on Triller, our sources tell us.
The one remaining hurdle is getting Holyfield-Belfort approved by the California State Athletic Commission.
If the commission does not sanction the match, we’re told the entire event will still go down ... but it’ll be moved to Florida.
The fight was supposed to be ODLH’s return to the ring after more than a decade ... after losing his last fight to Manny Pacquiao in 2008.
De La Hoya dedicated himself to getting back in peak physical condition in preparation for the fight over the last few months ... and looked to be in great shape, recently showing us his 6-pack as he left dinner in L.A.
As for Holyfield, The Real Deal -- one of the greatest fighters in boxing history -- last fought in 2011 ... but has recently talked about his desire to make a comeback to the ring.
Belfort -- an MMA legend -- has been more active over the last few years ... last fighting in the UFC in 2018.
The Anderson Silva vs Tito Ortiz fight is still a go.
Bottom line ... Oscar’s out, and Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort are fighting -- either in Cali or Florida.
Originally Published -- 10:30 AM PT
Longtime MLB exec Bob Boone -- Aaron Boone's famous father -- is leaving his job with the Washington Nationals ... and it's all 'cause the team has made COVID vaccines mandatory.
ESPN reported the news Wednesday ... explaining Bob -- a key front-office advisor for the team for YEARS -- is not willing to comply with the Nats' new policy that all non-playing employees must get the vaccine.
It's a huge deal -- 73-year-old Bob has been with the org. since 2005 ... and was most recently serving in a role as a senior adviser to Washington GM Mike Rizzo.
The Nats have said, according to The Washington Post, employees have until Sept. 15 to get the COVID vaccines ... otherwise, their contracts will be terminated.
Players, however, will still be allowed to remain with the organization even if they refuse to get the vax.
"As a company," the Nats said in a statement regarding the policy last week, "we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep one another safe and felt that mandating vaccines was the absolute right thing to do for our employees and our community."
FYI, Bob's son, Aaron -- the New York Yankees manager -- has said he got the vaccine in March.
The shots have been a hot-button issue in MLB circles the past few days ... with MLB Network stars John Smoltz and Al Leiter working remotely instead of in-studio after refusing the vax -- according to the New York Post.
2:36 PM PT -- Joe says he's taking ivermectin -- the livestock dewormer drug that the CDC and the FDA have specifically come out and warned against as a remedy to battle COVID. 🤷🏽♂️
Joe Rogan's contracted COVID-19 -- something he's spent countless hours talking about -- but says he's doing better thanks to a laundry list of meds ... but still has to cancel an upcoming show.
The famous podcast host, UFC commentator, conspiracy theorist and hot-take-giver says he got home from being on the road Saturday and felt like hell, so he quarantined from his family and got tested for the coronavirus.
Sure enough, he has COVID, so Rogan says he immediately began consuming all the modern medicine he could get his hands on -- seriously, listen to what he claims he took -- to combat the virus ... and it worked.
Joe says after 3 days on all those meds, he feels great ... but he's canceling his upcoming show in Nashville out of caution and rescheduling for late October.
Spotify’s Joe Rogan encourages "healthy" young people not to get a coronavirus vaccine. His show is Spotify's most popular podcast.— Alex Paterson (@AlexPattyy) April 27, 2021 @AlexPattyy
“If you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I'll go no.” pic.twitter.com/5dX98xUaHS
As you may know ... Rogan's provided many controversial takes on COVID and the vaccine, stating in April that young, healthy people don't necessarily need to get it. This resulted in some pushback from Dr. Fauci, and Joe walked his comments back later ... saying he's not anti-vaxx, and that he is a moron.
More recently, Rogan's railed on vaccine mandates, alleging they are pushing the U.S. "closer to dictatorship." His inoculation status remains unclear, but if one thing's for certain ... he'll probably talk more about it on his podcast soon.
Originally Published -- 2:01 PM PT
A woman tried pulling a fast one by allegedly passing off a phony vaccine card to get around Hawaii's strict COVID protocol -- but she got caught red-handed ... thanks to a major typo.
24-year-old Chloe Mrozak of Illinois was arrested and booked last week for presenting fraudulent vaccination documents during a trip to the islands. She was actually successful in getting there with what cops call a bogus vax card.
Officials caught on to her, though, in part because she apparently misspelled Moderna ... writing in "Maderna" instead, not once but TWICE! Her card suggested she'd gotten the jabs in Delaware -- courtesy of a health org called the NRA. So yeah, the jig was up pretty fast.
Special agents coordinated to catch Mrozak on her way back to the mainland ... and sure enough, on August 28, they tracked her down at the airport in Honolulu, and took her in. Reports say officials found no evidence she'd actually been inoculated.
As for why she mighta gone to these lengths -- the operating theory is that she didn't wanna deal with Hawaii's mandatory 10-day quarantine rule for the unvaccinated.
She mighta gotten away with it too ... if she'd been a sharper speller. See? It matters, kids!!!
The longtime Pats head coach addressed the decision to sack the 2015 MVP with reporters on Wednesday ... and while he didn't budge on most of the questions surrounding the roster move, he made sure to squash any indication it was related to Cam being unvaccinated.
"No," Belichick said bluntly ... before claiming vaccinated players have had issues with COVID as well.
"The number of players and coaches and staff members that have been affected by COVID in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number. So, I wouldn't lose sight of that."
Belichick adds there are other players on the team who haven't gotten the jab ... and having everyone vaccinated wouldn't guarantee other issues from popping up.
"Your implication that vaccination solves every problem is just not really ... I would say that has not been substantiated based on what's happening in training camp this year. That's all."
Of course, Cam ran into some issues last week after some confusion surrounding daily testing ... and was forced to keep away from the team for 5 days.
Now, Mac Jones is the guy taking over ... and for what it's worth, he said last month he would not disclose whether he's been vaccinated.
Gene Simmons is the latest KISS member to come down with COVID-19 -- and with both its frontmen coping with the virus -- the band's been forced to cancel several upcoming tour dates.
KISS announced Tuesday it'll postpone its next 4 tour dates as Gene recovers. The band and crew will remain at home and isolate for the next 10 days. The band also said on its website, "doctors have indicated the tour should be able to resume on September 9th at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA."
Furthermore ... all previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new dates once announced. The news comes just days after Paul Stanley also tested positive for COVID.
TMZ broke the story ... Paul's diagnosis meant the band couldn't take the stage for a scheduled concert in Pennsylvania. Our sources had said Paul is fully vaccinated and feeling fine despite the positive test.
We found video of the band wishing Gene a happy birthday on stage the night before Paul tested positive, and you see them both come face-to-face at one point.
Gene was on "TMZ Live" last week -- following Paul's positive test -- and he told us everyone was quarantining to be safe, and continued to be tested regularly. Turns out, that caution was for good reason.
As for the 4 tour dates that have been postponed ... they were shows slated for September 1, 2, 4 and 5 in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis is gutting it out onstage as he continues to recover from the coronavirus -- he needed an oxygen mask onstage just to get through a performance.
Jonathan and Korn returned to the stage Friday night in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park after canceling a bunch of shows when he contracted COVID-19 earlier this month -- and it's clear he's still struggling with the lingering aftereffects.
Video shows Jonathan taking occasional breaks to suck in SOME pure O2 between songs, and he spent the majority of the concert sitting down on a huge throne.
Korn guitarist Brian Welch says Jonathan's still feeling "physically weak and having a mental battle" ... and he's drawing on the energy from fans.
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Jonathan confirmed as much to the crowd, saying ... "I'm f****** feeling very weak but I f****** refuse to f****** cancel!!!"
Worth noting ... Cook County, Illinois recently issued a new indoor mask mandate due to surging COVID cases -- but bands are playing on, as you can see.
Eric Clapton is putting his anti-vaccine sentiments into song -- the guy just released a ditty that's all about resisting COVID vaccines and restrictions ... and it's surreal.
The legendary rocker and guitarist debuted his new track, "This Has Gotta Stop," Friday ... which at first feels like a social justice-like protest song -- based on the lyrics and visuals. But, when you read between the lines and read up on EC's recent COVID remarks ... it's clear what he's talking about.
The chorus goes, "This has gotta stop, enough is enough // I can't take this BS any longer // It's gone far enough, you wanna claim my soul // You'll have to come and break down this door." His first talks about knowing something was wrong when the proverbial man started laying down the law ... which Eric says made him apprehensive and break out in sweat.
He goes on to talk about what he thinks this future (of COVID mandates, vaccine requirements, etc.) will mean for his kids down the road. There's also a lot of animations of people being controlled by strings and hypnotized ... so it's clear what he thinks of it all.
Of course, that's no surprise ... Eric made his feelings known about a month ago when he announced he wouldn't perform at venues with vaccine requirements ... going on to liken it to "discriminated audience(s)." Even before that, he's been pushing anti-vaccine rhetoric pretty much all throughout the pandemic -- so, now, it appears he's channeling that in music.
The online response has been rough ... folks are ridiculing his latest offering, and swearing off his music at large over his stance.
James and Camila were in West Hollywood for a Cinderella spoof. James played the mouse, Camilla was Cinderella and Billy Porter was the Fairy Godmother.
When the skit was over, James grabbed a blunt from a passing driver and took a hit. Not a great idea with the Delta variant raging in L.A. County and pretty much everywhere else in the country.
And, there's this ... you gotta see James/the mouse thrusting his hips to "Let's Get Loud" ... as an onlooker captures it on video. Pretty hilarious.
Hopefully, James is OK. The skit will presumably air next week.
BTW ... James appears in the upcoming flick, "Cinderella," which was in production back in February 2020. It was shut down for months due to the pandemic, but it's in the can now.
"Cinderella" is set to stream on Amazon Prime September 3.
Kanye West may have put on a buzz-worthy show in Chicago for his third "Donda" listening event, but the showing for vaccinations wasn't great ... only 13 attendees got the shot.
A spokesperson from the Illinois Department of Public Health tells TMZ ... 13 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to guests at Soldier Field Thursday Night.
A rep for the venue previously told us 1,500 doses would be available ... so a very low percentage went into arms.
On the bright side -- at least for those who are not anti-vaxxers -- 13 is an increase from the 4 vaccinations at Kanye's last listening party in Atlanta, which had 40,000 people in attendance.
As for the Chicago show ... attendance was 38k, but attendees were not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter. So, considering the percentage of Illinois' population who have had at least one dose is just above 65 percent ... ya gotta think there were way more unvaccinated people there than 13.
Oh, and look at these lines ... not a lot of social distancing going on.
Never a dull moment.
Rev. Jesse Jackson's COVID-19 symptoms are abating while his battle with Parkinson's is becoming more of a challenge ... this according to his family.
Jackson's son, Jonathan, just provided a health update on his parents, also revealing his mother, Jacqueline, is still in the ICU fighting COVID. Thankfully, she's breathing on her own but she's still receiving oxygen.
Jonathan says Rev. Jackson's Parkinson's has gotten worse, so he's been transferred to Chicago's Shirley Ryan Ability Lab where he'll immediately begin intensive occupational and physical therapy. Jacqueline will remain at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
According to Jonathan ... both of his parents are receiving excellent medical care, but he's asking for prayers as they deal with the deadly virus and other issues. He's also pleading with everyone to get vaccinated.
As we reported ... Rev. Jackson revealed he has Parkinson's disease in late 2017, and the 79-year-old civil rights activist has had other medical issues recently.
Gene Simmons says his KISS co-founder, Paul Stanley, is not feeling great after catching COVID, but he's going to be just fine thanks to the vaccine ... and Gene's urging everyone to get their shots too.
The famous rock 'n' roller joined "TMZ Live" Friday to talk about canceling the band's Pennsylvania show after Paul tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gene says Paul, who's been fully vaccinated, started to lose his voice Thursday and felt tired so the band's doctor suggested he and the crew get a COVID test. Sure enough, Paul tested positive ... and Gene says everyone else on the tour was tested too, but all came back negative.
Gene says everyone involved is quarantining to make sure additional tests don't come up positive. As for Paul, medical professionals advise COVID carriers quarantine for 10 days.
Gene says there is no KISS without Paul, which likely means the band won't hit the stage again until Sept. 9 in Irvine, CA. So upcoming shows in NC, GA, MI, OH, IL and WI will almost certainly be rescheduled.
Gene's assuring all the KISS fans out there Paul will be fine. Fingers crossed for sure.
Sgt. Chris Wilson, a game warden from Texas who appeared in the reality TV show "Lone Star Law," is dead after losing his battle with coronavirus ... TMZ has confirmed.
A rep for the Department tells TMZ, "Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Sgt. Christopher Ray Wilson passed away August 26 after a valiant battle against health complications related to COVID-19."
Sgt. Wilson, who worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for 17 years, had been hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center after testing positive for the virus.
Chris appeared in a lone episode of "Lone Star Law" back in 2016, serving a search warrant with other game wardens and Captain Scott Jurk.
The Dept. paid homage to Chris, saying, "Sgt. Wilson proudly served Texas as a State Game Warden with great purpose, pride and dedication. His End of Watch leaves a hole in the hearts of many who knew him. The State of Texas is grateful beyond words, for the dignity, strength and sacrifice of his service. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."
A rep for Animal Planet tells TMZ, "Our deepest sympathy goes out to Chris' family and loved ones at this difficult time."
Other Texas game wardens escorted Chris' remains to a mortuary in town late Thursday, and they're standing watch outside the funeral home while his body is being prepped for a funeral.
Chris was 43. RIP
Sharon Stone's dealing with another heartbreaking family situation -- she says her baby nephew was found in his crib with total organ failure ... and he needs a miracle.
The actress is asking for prayers for her 11-month-old godson, River Stone, who is in the hospital hooked up to machines as he fights to survive.
River is the son of Sharon's brother, Patrick, and his wife, Tasha. He was born in September 2020. Sharon announced his birth on Instagram by sharing a photo of the newborn. She also posted a cute pic of him back in January.
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As we've reported ... Stone's family has experienced a lot of tragedy lately due to COVID-19. Last year, Sharon tearfully revealed her grandmother and godmother both died in the pandemic. Her sister and sister's husband, Bruce, also battled the coronavirus, but thankfully survived.
Prayers for River to do the same.
Paul Stanley has tested positive for COVID-19, and now KISS won't be taking the stage for a scheduled concert in Pennsylvania ... TMZ has learned.
Sources close to Paul tell TMZ ... the KISS lead singer is fully vaccinated and feeling fine despite testing positive. But, nonetheless, the band still had to call it quits on their show at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, PA.
There were rumblings on Twitter Paul was having heart issues -- and that's why the show was canceled -- but we're told that's NOT the case. In fact, Paul got on Twitter to let fans know the heart attack rumors were BS, and he's healthy as an ox. His tweet did not mention his positive test.
KISS is currently on tour and their next scheduled concert is Saturday in North Carolina.
A rep for the group tells us, "More information about show dates will be made available ASAP. Everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated."
The rep continues, "The band and their crew have operated in a bubble independently to safeguard everyone as much as possible at each show and in between shows. The tour also has a COVID safety protocol officer on staff full-time that is ensuring everyone is closely following all CDC guidelines."
Stay tuned ...