Howard Stern on Artie Lange

Howard Stern gave a lengthy statement about absent co-host Artie Lange during Wednesday morning’s Howard Stern Show broadcast.

Lange has now been absent from HSS for a full year. The comedian, who joined the Howard Stern Show cast in 2001, went on mandatory medical leave for conditions surrounding his heroin addiction in December 2010. A month later, he attempted suicide by stabbing himself nine times.

Stern’s December 9th announcement that the Howard Stern Show will continue on Sirius XM for another five years immediately prompted questions from fans about whether the prodigal son would return to fill the “Artie chair”. The media mogul addressed the issue Wednesday after a caller pressed him for information.

“I am very careful what I say about Artie and I’ll tell you why: I will never forget the feeling that shook me when I got the call what happened to Artie and what he did to himself. It rocked me. It rocked me profoundly. (voice cracks) I was so upset. I did a lot of self examination. I said: ‘Did I feed into this? Was I responsible for this?’ I asked myself lots of different questions. And my conclusion was that I love Artie. Artie Lange is a super talent and what he gave to this show I will always be grateful for. He was a great team player and there wasn’t a jealous bone in Artie’s body. He’s a gentleman. And funny.

But, in all seriousness, when the reality of life and death hit me-that he plunged a knife into himself several times, I vowed right then and there: I am not going to go on these airwaves and do anything to upset him or to rock his world. He needs lots of tender loving care. He needs the love of his family. He needs the love of his friends and he needs to get better. And this show? This is a comedy show and I can’t sit here and make jokes about Artie. I don’t want Artie to be offended by anything. Because he’s walking a tight wire, you know? He’s walking the tight rope.”

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