Rush Limbaugh Dies: Controversial Radio Giant Was 70

Rush Limbaugh (Credit: Shutterstock)

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative media personality who built a talk-radio empire that influenced the nation’s politics and the Republican party, has died after battling cancer. He was 70.

In February 2020, Limbaugh announced he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

Limbaugh’s wife Kathryn shared the news on his radio show Wednesday that he had passed away. “As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” she told listeners. “Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”

Fans and critics alike knew him as host of “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” a nationally-syndicated radio program on both AM and FM stations, that turned him into a partisan figure for its millions of listeners across the country.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” became a pioneer of the political talk-radio format and conservative infotainment.

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One of the radio host’s biggest controversies was when he attacked then-President Barack Obama by saying Obama was not born in the U.S.

Limbaugh was a climate change denier and held conservative views on race, LGBTQ issues, feminism and sexual consent. He was also a supporter of President Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency.

He was born in 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University after high school, but dropped out after two semesters. Limbaugh then started his radio career at 20-years-old as a DJ for a station in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

After stints at radio stations in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, he started “The Rush Limbaugh Show” under his name during his time at Sacramento radio station KFBK-AM.

His work and ratings caught the attention of WABC (AM) in New York City and Limbaugh started with them in 1988. He remained at WABC for many years until eventually moving to its rival, WOR (AM) in 2014.

He also hosted a television show from 1992 to 1996 produced by the late Roger Ailes. In 2003, he briefly became a professional football commentator with ESPN but then parted ways with the cable sports channel.

A short time after Limbaugh announced he had cancer, President Donald Trump awarded him the Medal of Freedom in an unprecedented move during his State of the Union address.