Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dies aged 70 - one year after announcing Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis
* Conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday, aged 70, following year-long lung cancer battle
* News of Limbaugh's death was announced by his wife Kathryn on his radio show
* Limbaugh was diagnosed with Stage IV advanced lung cancer back in February 2020
* Days after revealing his diagnosis, Limbaugh attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union where he was
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
* In his first interview since leaving office, Trump on Wednesday paid tribute to Limbaugh in a phone interview with Fox
News, calling him 'irreplaceable'
* Limbaugh continued to host his radio show, which had been in national syndication since 1988 - only missing a few
shows in October for treatment
* In his last broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners for their support and said: 'I wasn't expected to be alive
Rush Limbaugh, the radio icon and 'voice of American conservatism', died on Wednesday, aged 70, following his year-long battle with lung cancer.
Limbaugh's death, which was announced by his fourth wife Kathryn on the radio show he last hosted February 2, was diagnosed with Stage IV advanced lung cancer back in February 2020.
'I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,' Kathryn, who was married to Limbaugh for a decade, told his viewers.
'I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting. 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.'
Just days after revealing he had cancer last year, Limbaugh attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
First Lady Melania Trump presented him with the nation's highest civilian honor after her husband lauded Limbaugh as 'a special man beloved by millions of Americans' and 'the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet'.
Limbaugh was one of Trump's most ardent supporters. In his first interview since leaving office, Trump on Wednesday paid tribute to Limbaugh in a phone interview with Fox News, saying they last spoke three or four days ago.
'Rush is irreplaceable,' Trump said. 'Unique. He had an audience that was massive.'
'People, whether they loved him or not, they respected him.'
Despite his diagnosis, Limbaugh continued to host his radio show, which had been in national syndication since 1988, throughout much of last year.
He had vowed to do his program 'as normally and as competently' as he could while undergoing treatment. He missed only a few shows in October.
In his last broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners for their support as he opened up about his fight with terminal 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.'
Tributes immediately poured in from high-profile Republicans and conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr., who called him a 'true American legend'.
Former President George W. Bush said Limbaugh 'spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.'
Unflinchingly conservative, wildly partisan, bombastically self-promoting and larger than life, Limbaugh galvanized listeners for more than 30 years with his talent for vituperation and sarcasm.
His radio show became nationally syndicated in 1988 and quickly built a large and committed following, making him wealthy in the process.
Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $84 million, ranking him behind only Howard Stern among radio personalities.
He called himself an entertainer, but his monologues during his three-hour weekday radio show broadcast on nearly 600 US stations shaped the national political conversation, swaying ordinary Republicans and the direction of their party.
Limbaugh's appeal and the success of his top-rated radio show arose from his brash and colorful style, his delight in baiting liberals and Democrats and his promotion of conservative and Republican causes and politicians.
Blessed with a made-for-broadcasting voice, he delivered his opinions with such certainty that his followers, or 'Ditto-heads,' as he dubbed them, took his words as sacred truth.
'In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,' Limbaugh, with typical immodesty, told author Zev Chafets in the 2010 book 'Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.'
Limbaugh took as a badge of honor the title 'most dangerous man in America.' He said he was the 'truth detector,' the 'doctor of democracy,' a 'lover of mankind,' a 'harmless, lovable little fuzz ball' and an 'all-around good guy.'
He claimed he had 'talent on loan from God.'
Long before Trump's rise in politics, Limbaugh was pinning insulting names on his enemies and raging against the mainstream media, accusing it of feeding the public lies.
He called Democrats and others on the left communists, wackos, feminazis, liberal extremists, f*****s and radicals.
When actor Michael J. Fox, suffering from Parkinson's disease, appeared in a Democratic campaign commercial, Limbaugh mocked his tremors.
When a Washington advocate for the homeless killed himself, he cracked jokes. As the AIDS epidemic raged in the 1980s, he made the dying a punchline. He called 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton a dog.
He suggested that the Democrats' stand on reproductive rights would have led to the abortion of Jesus Christ. When a woman accused Duke University lacrosse players of rape, he derided her as a 'ho,' and when a Georgetown University law student supported expanded contraceptive coverage, he dismissed her as a 's**t.' When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Limbaugh said: 'I hope he fails.'
Limbaugh often enunciated the Republican platform better and more entertainingly than any party leader, becoming a GOP kingmaker whose endorsement and friendship were sought. Polls consistently found he was regarded as the voice of the party.
His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter of praise that Limbaugh proudly read on the air in 1992: 'You've become the number one voice for conservatism.' In 1994, Limbaugh was so widely credited with the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years that the GOP made him an honorary member of the new class.
During the 2016 presidential primaries, Limbaugh said he realized early on that Trump would be the nominee, and he likened the candidate´s deep connection with his supporters to his own.
In a 2018 interview, he conceded Trump is rude but said that is because he is 'fearless and willing to fight against the things that no Republican has been willing to fight against.'
Trump, for his part, heaped praise on Limbaugh, and they golfed together.
Both men ultimately found Florida more comfortable than New York: The former president's Mar-a-Lago estate is eight miles down the same Palm Beach boulevard as Limbaugh´s $50 million beachfront expanse.
In honoring Limbaugh at the State of the Union, Trump called his friend 'a special man beloved by millions.'
Limbaugh influenced the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and countless other conservative commentators who pushed the boundaries of what passes as acceptable public discourse.
His brand of blunt, no-gray-area debate spread to cable TV, town hall meetings, political rallies and Congress itself, emerging during the battles over health care and the ascent of the tea party movement.
In 2003, Limbaugh admitted an addiction to painkillers and went into rehab. Authorities opened an investigation into alleged 'doctor shopping,' saying he received up to 2,000 pills from four doctors over six months.
He ultimately reached a deal with prosecutors in which they agreed to drop the charge if he continued with drug treatment and paid $30,000 toward the cost of the investigation.
He lost his hearing around that time. He said it was from an autoimmune disorder, while his critics said hearing loss is a known side effect of painkiller abuse. He received cochlear implants, which restored his hearing and saved his career.
A portly, round-faced figure, Limbaugh was divorced three times, after marrying Roxy Maxine McNeely in 1977, Michelle Sixta in 1983 and Marta Fitzgerald in 1994.
He married his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers, in a lavish 2010 ceremony featuring Elton John. He had no children.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was born January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His mother was the former Mildred Armstrong, and his father, Rush Limbaugh Jr., was a lawyer.https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9271027/Rush-Limbaugh-dies-aged-70-lung-cancer-battle.html