Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday after a year-long battle with cancer.
Limbaugh’s death at age 70 was announced Wednesday on his influential conservative radio program, by his wife, Kathryn.
Limbaugh announced last February that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
“I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today. I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting,” his wife told listeners in a surprise noon announcement on his radio show.
“For over 32 years, Rush has cherished you, loyal audience, and always looked forward to every single show. It is with profound sadness I must share with you directly that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer.”
Kathryn Limbaugh said that “as so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life.”
“Rush will forever be the greatest of all time. Rush was an extraordinary man, a gentle giant, brilliant, quick-witted, genuinely kind, extremely generous, passionate, courageous and the hardest-working person I know,” she said.
“Despite being one of the most recognized, powerful people in the world, Rush never let the success change his core or beliefs. He was polite and respectful to everyone he met, even most recently, when he was not feeling well in the hospital, he was so appreciative to every single doctor and nurse and custodian.”
Tributes to the influential Republican poured in immediately.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted, “Rush Limbaugh revolutionized American radio. His voice guided the conservative movement for millions every day. Rest In Peace, Rush.”
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany praised Limbaugh’s “unrelenting boldness to proclaim the truth.
“Growing up in Plant City, Florida, my dad would always play the Rush Limbaugh program in his pick-up truck,” McEnany recalled. “My fellow classmates from my all girls Catholic school knew if they road [sic] in my car, we would be listening to Rush Limbaugh. I am the definition of a ‘Rush Baby,’ and it’s not just me. There are tens of thousands of us all across the conservative movement.”
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wrote, “Mr. Limbaugh provided a conservative balance against the dangerous left wing corporate media machine. History counts few entertainers among those who made a difference in the country. Rush Limbaugh did.”
Fellow pundit Glenn Beck tweeted, “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. Heaven’s gain, our loss.”
Although the cancer was expected to quickly kill Limbaugh, he received treatment and continued to host his radio program.
Shortly after his diagnosis, then-President Donald Trump surprised Limbaugh at last year’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress by awarding Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Then-first lady Melania Trump put the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.
“The Rush Limbaugh Show” premiered in 1988, airing for nearly 33 years.