Rush Limbaugh, the pioneering conservative talk show host whose radio program drew millions of listeners and influenced Republican politicians including President Donald Trump, died today of lung cancer. He was 70.
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, made the announcement on his radio show today. He had announced his Stage 4 cancer diagnosis a year ago, one day before Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the 2020 State of the Union address.
The homepage on Limbaugh’s site reads: “In Loving Memory of Rush Hudson Limbaugh III The Greatest of All Time.”
The Rush Limbaugh Show launched in radio syndication in August 1988 on 56 stations, and Limbaugh eventually became one of the most influential conservative voices in the media landscape. As of last year, his show — long the top-rated in the nation — airs on more than 600 stations on syndicator Premiere Networks and reaches 27 million people weekly.
He also hosted an eponymous TV show produced by future Fox News maven Roger Ailes during the mid-’90s, voiced a few episodes of Family Guy, appeared on the short-lived 1/2 Hour News Hour in the late 2000s and had a brief stint as an NFL commentator for ESPN in 2003.
His unapologetic conservative takes inspired a rabid fan base and often shook GOP politics. During the final weeks of the 2020 election, Limbaugh hosted a two-hour program during which Trump answered his questions and those from listeners.
Born on January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, MO, Limbaugh began his radio career as a DJ in 1971 and continued to work in the medium throughout that decade before joining Major League Baseball’s Kansas City in 1979. What began as a part-time gig became a full-time job as director of group sales and special events.
He would return to radio in 1983, ditching his “Bachelor Jeff” Christie handle and using his real name. In October 1984, he replaced Morton Downey Jr. on KFBK-AM Sacramento, which led to his syndicated program.