Herman Cain, a businessman and onetime Republican presidential hopeful, has died from complications of COVID-19, according to a statement Thursday on his personal website. He was 74.
“Herman Cain — our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us — has passed away,” the statement said.
“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” the statement continued. “He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.”
Cain was a supporter of President Donald Trump and had been serving as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.
The business executive tested positive for COVID-19 last month, about a week after he attended a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20.
While it’s unknown if he contracted the virus in Tulsa, Cain posted a photo of himself at the event, without a mask on.
Cain was a colon cancer survivor, and considered at increased risk for coronavirus because of his age and previous cancer battle, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On its website, the CDC says older adults and people with medical conditions should “take extra precautions” to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee on Dec. 13, 1945. He grew up in Georgia and graduated from Morehouse College. He went on to receive a master’s degree in computer science at Purdue University.
Cain’s success as a business executive at Burger King prompted Pillsbury to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, where he held the position from 1986 to 1996.
Cain announced his candidacy for president in 2011. He gained supporters with his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, which would have replaced the current tax system with a 9% income tax, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% national sales tax. But he eventually dropped out of the race amid sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.
Herman Cain is survived by his wife, Gloria, their two children, Melanie and Vincent, and grandchildren.