Rush Limbaugh, the pioneer of conservative talk radio, who shaped the hearts and minds of millions with his daily radio show, has died at the age of 70 after a more than year-long battle with Stage IV lung cancer.
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, informed the world of his death on his show on Wednesday.
Known affectionately as El Rushbo, the talk radio giant’s lengthy career in radio spanned over three decades. Bringing insight and wisdom to an often-fraught political discourse, the radio icon’s “The Rush Limbaugh Show” debuted on August 1, 1988 and has grown in popularity ever since.
According to Fox News, the show originally began airing on just 56 stations, but grew to be the “most listened-to radio show in America, airing on more than 600 stations” with up to 27 million people tuning in each week.
In his final radio broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his audience for sticking by him through his battle with cancer.
“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said. “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.”
Limbaugh credited his faith in Jesus Christ with helping him weather his diagnosis.
Just days before Christmas last year, Limbaugh spoke openly about his faith on air.
“I try to remain as committed to the idea what’s supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to,” he said.
“I mentioned at the outset of this – the first day I told you – that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is of immense value, strength, confidence… There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands.”
And in an earlier program, Limbaugh said that his diagnoses had given him new perspective and thanksgiving for each day.
“I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are,” he said. “But it’s a blessing when you wake up. It’s a stop-everything-and-thank-God moment.”
Following Limbaugh’s terminal cancer diagnoses in January 2020, former President Donald Trump awarded El Rushbo with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the State of the Union in front of the entire Congress and the millions of people watching at home.
You can watch the moment in full here:
“Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and inspire, and all of the incredible work you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest honor,” President Trump said at the time.
Calling in to Fox News on Wednesday following Limbaugh’s death, President Trump spoke about their recent friendship. “He was a unique guy and he became a friend of mine… He was just a great gentleman, a great man… he had an insight that few people have, even really good ones.”
Over the years, in a perhaps providential initiative, Limbaugh raised over $47 million for cancer research through his radio program’s “EIB Cure-a-Thon” for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Limbaugh’s 25th annual “Cure-a-Thon” in 2020 raised over $3.3 million.
In a heartfelt tribute to the radio influencer, Limbaugh’s flagship website posted a brief message on Wednesday: “In loving memory of Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, the greatest of all time.”
Godspeed, El Rushbo. Requiescat in pace.
Photo Credit: “The Rush Limbaugh Show”
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