PALM BEACH, Florida — Radio superstar Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday morning of advanced lung cancer at the age of 70.
The announcement came from his wife Kathryn during the opening segment of the broadcaster’s national program.
“It is with profound sadness that I must share with you directly that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer,” Mrs. Limbaugh said.
“Rush will forever be the greatest of all time,” she continued.
His “Excellence in Broadcasting” network aired sounds clips of Rush Limbaugh himself, referring to the day he would pass away.
“The day is gonna come when I’m not gonna be able to do this,” Rush said in one clip. “Even when the day comes, I’d like to be here. I have this sense of needing to show my appreciation for all that you have done and meant to me.”
Kathryn praised her husband as an “irreplaceable, remarkable talent.”
“Rush was an extraordinary man, a gentle giant, quick-witted,” she explained, “the hardest working person I know … He was polite and respectful to everyone he met.”
“From today on there will be a tremendous void in our lives and, of course, on the radio.”
“Rush often stood up and took arrows on his own because he knew it was the right thing to do.”
“Rush gave us hope that through hard work and determination we can be our best.”
“On behalf of the Limbaugh family, I would personally like to thank each and everyone of you who prayed for Rush and inspired him to keep going. … He loved you and he loved this radio program with every part of his being.”
“In Rush’s honor, may we all continue Rush’s mission in our individual lives and communities. … I know all of you listening are terribly sad. We all are. I’m terribly sorry to have to deliver this news to you. God bless you, Rush, and God bless our country,” Kathryn concluded.
“We have lost a titan. Sad to note but there is no one who can fill his shoes,” said Catholic League president Bill Donohue. “No talk-show host, on radio or TV – liberal or conservative – has ever had as much public impact as Rush Limbaugh. His voice was a gift from God and his daily presentations and musings were classic. He did not need prepared scripts: his commentary was fluid, coherent and persuasive. Indeed, he captivated his audience in a way no one else ever has.”
Limbaugh was diagnosed in January 2020 with advanced lung cancer. A few weeks later he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump.
“The Rush Limbaugh Show” went live in 1988 and has earned a long list of honors, including five times when Limbaugh was given the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Award for “Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting.”
He’s also a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and member of both the Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
He’s been a leader in conservative politics since his show started, and Fox News described him as “one of the most influential media members of the past 50 years.”
It was during his program’s last broadcast of 2020 that an emotional Limbaugh expressed gratitude to God, his family and his listeners.
“You don’t have any idea how … ” he said, pausing to hold back tears. “I know so many people think this program has changed their lives for the better. You have no idea what you all have meant to me and my family,” he said on the show.
“My point in all of this is to say thanks and tell everybody involved how much I love you from the bottom of a sizable and growing and still-beating heart,” said Limbaugh.
Last October, he told listeners his doctors had informed him of a setback in his prognosis.
“The scans did show some progression of cancer,” he said, adding it was “not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction.”
“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over,” Limbaugh said at the time. “Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”
Limbaugh had not been on the air since Feb. 2. He overcame previous health battles including an addiction to prescription drugs and complete deafness, having a Cochlear implant installed.
Left-leaning media couldn’t wait to attack Limbaugh upon his death. For example, the secondary headline of NBC News’ coverage stated: “The Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree outraged critics with his long history of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks.”
Limbaugh, a personal friend of his Palm Beach neighbor former President Donald Trump, was a champion of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement and a ferocious critic of political leftists in America.
“They remain scared to death of you, and they remain scared to death of Trump. Trump’s 75 million, 80 million votes. And I’m gonna tell you, you’re not going anywhere,” Rush said on a program in January.
“You know what you believe. You know what your vision for the country is. You’re not gonna give up on it. You’re not gonna go packing away. I mean, some of you may not vote the next chance you get, although I would caution against saying that.”
He said Democrats can’t “separate you from MAGA, they can’t separate you from Make America Great Again, which I think remains one of our big campaign strengths going forward.”
“The idea that making this country great is somehow bad, the idea that making America great – either again or period – is something controversial, to me is a big plus in our column,” said Limbaugh.
He said the country is nowhere near reaching the point where a majority think America being great is a problem.
“It remains an objective for millions of people. It remains a goal, because it means so much to people in their real lives,” he said. “Most Americans do not think America is the problem in the world. A number of Americans do. They’ve been brainwashed in public education and in higher education.”
He argued Make America Great Again is a “concept of ideas rooted in the founding of our country, the writing of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence.”
“And it remains the bulwark. It remains the definition of America – both terms of morality and virtue and decency in politics – that people want to strive for.”
Limbaugh was born Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 1951 and was fascinated as a young boy with radio, often reminiscing about his Caravelle toy radio from which he would broadcast to his parents in his own home.
At 16, he chose to explore his passion for broadcasting by working as a disc jockey for a hometown radio station. After four years, he left for Pittsburgh to work for the former ABC owned and operated KQV. Tired of the disc jockey life, Rush briefly left broadcasting for business, joining the Kansas City Royals as director of group sales, and later as director of sales and special events.
He couldn’t resist the urge to return to broadcasting, and in 1983, he re-entered radio as a political commentator for KMBZ in Kansas City. A year later Rush hosted a daytime talk show in Sacramento, California, tripling the program’s ratings in four years. From there, in 1988, he went on to New York where the record-breaking national show was born.
Limbaugh, who called himself the “doctor of democracy,” “the mayor of Realville,” “your guiding light in times of darkness,” and a “lovable little fuzzball,” is known as the pioneer of AM talk radio. He revolutionized the media and political landscape with his unprecedented combination of serious discussion of political, cultural and social issues along with satirical and biting humor, which parodies previously “untouchable” personalities and topics. His passion inspires millions of Americans to be the best they can be and keeps the country on course to a bright future.
In 1988, Rush launched his phenomenally successful radio broadcast, “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” into national syndication with 56 radio stations. Today, 32 years later, the show is heard on more than 600 stations by up to 27 million people each week and is the highest-rated national radio talk show in America.
Limbaugh’s website posted a list of Rush’s accomplishments, including:
- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump (2020)
- Five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for “Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting”
- Children’s Choice Author of the Year, “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims” (2014)
- Author of #1 New York Times bestselling Adventures of Rush Revere Series, including “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims,” “The First Patriots,” “The American Revolution,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “The Presidency”
- Author of “The Limbaugh Letter,” the most widely read political newsletter in the country and two #1 New York Times best-selling books, “The Way Things Ought to Be” and “See, I Told You So,” which have sold nearly 10 million copies. Additionally, “See, I Told You So” set an American publishing record
- Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago in 1993
- Inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998
- Inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians on May 14, 2012 at the State Capitol building in Jefferson City
- Hosted “Rush Limbaugh – The Television Show” in New York from 1992 through 1996
- Received a personal letter from President Ronald Reagan thanking him and naming him the “Number One voice for conservatism in our Country”
- Invited to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House by President George H. W. Bush
- Honorary Member of the Republican Freshman Class of 1995 House of Representatives
- Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People (2008)
- Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World (2009)
- Forbes Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Celebrities in the United States, numerous years (#19 in 2010)
- Awarded the “William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence” by the Media Research Center (2007)
- Received CPAC’s “Defender of the Constitution Award” (2009)
- Named the Human Events Man of the Year (2007)
- The Giving Back Fund’s 10 Most Generous Celebrities for contributions to charities and individuals, such as the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation
- Hosted an annual radio Cure-a-thon to benefit research done by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)– raising over $47 million to date
- Miss America Pageant Judge 2010
- Guest television appearances include “Nightline with Ted Koppel,” “Cross Fire,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” The “Today” Show, “The Phil Donahue Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show,” “This Week with David Brinkley”, “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert, and “The Drew Carey Show.” Starred as himself in the popular network sitcoms “Family Guy” and “Hearts Afire”
- Profiled on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” ABC’s “20/20” and in numerous publications including “U.S. News and World Report,” “Newsweek,” “National Review,” “Time Magazine,” “The New York Times Magazine” and “USA Weekend”