By: T. Lee
Conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday morning at the age of 70 following his Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. One of the most important conservative voices, Rush helped shape the modern-day Republican Party and became one of the biggest and most influential stars in political radio.
In January 2020, Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union Address just days after receiving his cancer diagnosis. Former President Trump called his friend “a special man beloved by millions.” “Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” Trump said during the address. Earlier that year, the former president also celebrated Limbaugh’s signing of a long-term contract with Premiere Radio Networks.
Limbaugh’s show started in 1988 and spanned more than three decades. Reaching an audience of more than 15 million listeners, Rush used his platform for years to dig into political correctness, foretell the rise of Donald Trump, and lead listeners around the nation through conversations regarding Republican issues. Limbaugh took the honor of badge in being a truth detector, doctor of democracy, and lover of mankind.
He even received a letter of praise from his idol, Ronald Reagan, who’d called him the “number one voice for conservatism.” Rush has received the support of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and countless other conservative commentators.
Rush shared his views of the world in best-selling books “The Way Things Ought to Be” and “See, I Told You So.” He was enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Rush was named one of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People in 2008 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.
Limbaugh’s wife Kathryn announced his death on the radio program during a surprise noon announcement. She started off by saying that she is most certainly not the Limbaugh listeners expected to tune in to, but that Rush very much wishes to be behind the golden microphone.
“For over 32 years, Rush has cherished you, loyal audience, and always looked forward to every single show. It is with profound sadness I must share with you directly that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer,” Kathryn said.
She continued to say that “as so many of you know losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life.” She said Rush would “forever be the greatest” and described him as a man who was genuinely kind, extremely generous, and passionate.
Limbaugh revealed in his final broadcast that he was surprised he’d outlived his prognosis. “I wasn’t expected to be alive today. I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.” He spent his time on the last show reflecting on his career and thanking listeners for the wild journey.
Rush is survived by his wife, Kathryn.