Rush Limbaugh has died at the age of 70 after succumbing to cancer. His wife, Kathryn, announced the radio host’s death on his radio show. “As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” Kathryn Limbaugh said. The conservative radio icon announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer back in February 2020.
Rush Limbaugh became a pioneering figure in the realm of talk radio, hosting his nationally syndicated show for 32 years. He is often seen as the forerunner of bringing conservative punditry into the mainstream media through his show and is credited as kickstarting an abundance of conservative talking heads in the political media discourse. His show popularized conservative political talk-radio and has been followed by millions of fans over its three decades on the air. He once received a personal endorsement from President Ronald Reagan where the president thanked Limbaugh for helping to promote Republican and conservative principles. Reagan went so far as to call Limbaugh “the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country.” He was even made an honorary member of the U.S. House of Representatives by Republicans in 1994.
However, Rush Limbaugh was also the subject of many controversies over the span of his professional career. Criticized for inaccuracies in his viewpoints by multiple outlets, he was often challenged for presenting his opinions as unquestioned fact. He also came under fire for attacking specific public figures such as Michael J. Fox, who Limbaugh once claimed was exaggerating the effects of Parkinson’s disease in order to advocate for stem cell research. There is also a long history of accusations of sexism due to Rush Limbaugh’s descriptions of women, including the term “feminazi” which he was integral in propagating through his show. More recently, he was criticized for calling the coronavirus a “common cold” that was being “weaponized” against then-President Donald Trump. “I’m dead right on this,” said Limbaugh. “The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” Trump awarded Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 2020. Limbaugh also compared the perpetrators of the January 6 Capitol Riots to historical figures attached to the American Revolutionary War. His rhetoric has been viewed by some as helping to stoke the fires of sedition and insurrection leading up to the riots.
In addition to his work as a radio host and political media figure, Rush Limbaugh was involved with charitable functions such as hosting annual telethons to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He also took part in annual fundraisers for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation which helps to provide scholarships to children of law enforcement officers and Marines who have lost their lives in the line of duty. He is also a published author with books for both adults and children. His children’s book, Rush Revere and the First Patriots: Time-Travel with Exceptional Americans, was nominated as an author-of-the-year finalist for the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards.
Rush Limbaugh did not have any children and is survived by his wife Kathryn Limbaugh.