Rush Limbaugh, Conservative Icon, Dies After Battle With Lung Cancer at 70

Rush Limbaugh, an influential conservative political commentator and radio host, died from throat cancer at the age of 70.

Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn Limbaugh, announced his death on his radio show on Wednesday morning. In January 2020, he learned he had Stage IV lung cancer, and he told listeners in October that his cancer was terminal and was progressing in the "wrong direction."

"Rush gave us hope that through hard work and determination we can overcome the obstacles in our lives and be our best," Kathryn said on the show.

Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis in January and days later, received the presidential medal of freedom from President Donald Trump during his final State of the Union address. Trump acknowledged that Limbaugh's cancer diagnosis was not "good news," but he called Limbaugh the "greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet."

"Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country," Trump said
Limbaugh's father, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, was U.S. ambassador to India under President Dwight Eisenhower and his uncle served as a federal judge under President Ronald Reagan. As a child, Limbaugh would pretend to be a DJ, and he got his first radio job in high school, according to Biography.com

rush limbaugh cancer lung dead 70
Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh has died, according to his wife Kathryn. Limbaugh pumps his fist as he is acknowledged by President Donald Trump as he delivers the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on February 4, 2020. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

After working at KFBK in Sacramento, California, Limbaugh launched the "Rush Limbaugh Show" began in 1988 and over the past 33 years, grew to become the most listened-to radio show in the United States. In 1993, Limbaugh was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, followed by the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1998.

Limbaugh developed a faithful audience of about 15.5 million people per week, according to Nielsen, and in October, he opened up about his battle with cancer. After his first diagnosis, he said he didn't think he would live to October 1, a thought he reminded himself of when that day came.

"In a nutshell, there are lots of ups and downs in this particular illness. And it can feel like a roller coaster at times that you can't get off of," he said. "And again, I want to stress here that I know countless numbers of you are experiencing the same thing. If it isn't lung cancer, it's some kind of cancer. If it isn't you, it's somebody really close to you. If it isn't an illness, it's something."

In his last show of 2020, Limbaugh reiterated that he wasn't expected to see the end of the year and told listeners he feels "extremely fortunate and lucky" to have outlived his diagnosis. Having that extra time, he said, gave him an opportunity to hear some of the most "wonderful, nice things" people had to say about him.