Rush Limbaugh, the radio host who revolutionized conservative talk radio and became the medium’s biggest and most influential star, is dead at the age of 70.
Limbaugh’s death was announced on his program by his wife, Kathryn Limbaugh. The Hill has reached out to “The Rush Limbaugh Show” for further comment.
His death comes a little more than a year after his announcement of a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer.
“One thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me,” Limbaugh told his listeners last year.
Limbaugh’s reign on talk radio spanned more than three decades and at its peak reached an audience of more than 15 million listeners. He was first syndicated in 1988.
He was a provocateur who became a hero to conservatives but deeply angered and offended others with his remarks on race, gender and a host of political issues. As news of his death spread, supporters offered their condolences to Limbaugh’s family while pointing to the longtime host as a champion of the conservative movement.
“He was special…He was very brave. He was fighting to the very end. He’s a fighter,” former President Trump, who awarded Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom last year, said during an interview Wednesday on Fox News. “Rush is irreplaceable, unique. He had an audience that was massive.”
Earlier that year, Trump had celebrated Limbaugh’s signing of a long-term contract with Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of IHeartMedia.
Asked about Limbaugh’s death at an afternoon briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she wasn’t sure if the White House would release an official statement on his death but conveyed President Biden‘s condolences.
Glenn Beck, another host influenced by Limbaugh, thanked him for “all you taught, gave and were.”
No words … I just got news the Rush Limbaugh has passed away.
thanks Rush for all you taught, gave and were. A hero to many. An icon. A patriot. A revolutionary that saved radio.
Heavens gain, our loss.
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 17, 2021
The fiery conservative host was a top Trump supporter and as recently as October hosted Trump for a two-hour interview.
“Because of people like you and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and so many others — your friends at ‘Fox & Friends’ in the morning — people are getting it,” Trump told Limbaugh at the time.
Limbaugh also influenced presidents, as did those who followed in his path — particularly during the Trump administration. Trump closely followed the programming of Fox News, and some of its hosts were known to offer him advice both on and off the air.
As much as a slice of conservative America worshipped Limbaugh, much of liberal America saw a toxic force in U.S. life at the root of some of the problems during the Trump era and before.
“The most i’ll say about rush limbaugh is that he used his talents to make the world a worse place,” wrote New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie on Twitter.
the most i’ll say about rush limbaugh is that he used his talents to make the world a worse place
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 17, 2021
The left-leaning activist group Sleeping Giants, which has sought to put pressure on advertisers of conservative media, said Limbaugh was survived by other conservative hosts they said ray playbooks of baiting audiences with hateful rhetoric.
Rush Limbaugh has died.
He is survived by an ecosystem born of his playbook of baiting audiences with a frenzy of hate and lies for massive profits.
Podcasters like Ben Shapiro, grifters like Mike Cernovich and Alex Jones and networks like Fox owe him a debt of gratitude.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) February 17, 2021