Conservative radio and television personality Rush Limbaugh has died at 70, after a battle with Stage IV lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with in January 2020. The broadcaster was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union address just days after his cancer diagnosis for his work.
According to Fox News, Limbaugh's death was announced on his radio show by his widow, Kathryn. It was that program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, for which he became famous and was the most well-known for during his time as a broadcaster. It had been nationally syndicated on AM and FM radio stations since 1988, and aired on nearly 600 stations across the country. In December 2019, it was estimated that his show attracted nearly 15.5 million weekly listeners, making it the most listened to radio show in the United States.
Limbaugh also hosted a national television show from 1992 to 1996, and his efforts as a broadcaster saw him inducted into both the National Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He was also the author of seven books, and saw his first two, which came out consecutively in 1992 and 1993, make it to The New York Times Best Seller list. The radio personality was also one of the highest paid such figures, and in 2018 Forbes determined that he'd made $84.5 million.
Limbaugh has been involved in a number of controversies during his career, which go beyond his views on many political issues. In 2006, he accused actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, of faking his symptoms while filming a political television ad which promoted the funding of stem cell research. In early 2012, he called law student and women's rights activist Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" while discussing her speech to House Democrats which supported making insurance coverage for contraceptives mandatory, which led to the loss of several local and national sponsors for his show. And, most recently, he claimed that the coronavirus was just the common cold and had been "weaponized" in order to bring down President Trump.
During Limbaugh's last radio broadcast of 2020, he thanked his listeners and expressed his gratitude, saying:
I've had a year to really reflect on the things that really matter… the things that are completely relevant and important to me. And all of you are in that large conglomeration of things that are very important to me...I feel extremely fortunate and lucky. And because I’ve been able to outlive the diagnosis, I’ve been able to receive and hear and process some of the most wonderful, nice things about me that I might not have ever heard if I had not gotten sick...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.
Rush Limbaugh is survived by his widow Kathryn, whom he married in 2010.