Rush Limbaugh death: Conservative radio host dies aged 70

Right-wing star credited with helping shape modern Republican party

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
@graemekmassie
Wednesday 17 February 2021 23:55
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Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has died at the age of 70, his family has announced.

The veteran right-wing media star died after a long battle with lung cancer, his wife Kathryn announced on his radio show on Wednesday.

Mr Limbaugh announced that he had advanced lung cancer in January 2020, and just days later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump at the State of the Union address.

Follow live: Trump leads tributes to conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh

After news of Mr Limbaugh’s death broke, Mr Trump called into Fox News, for the first time since leaving office, to pay tribute to him.

“He was a fantastic man, a fantastic talent. People really respected him,” said the ex-president.

And Mr Trump took the opportunity to continue to push his debunked election fraud claims.

“Rush thought we won, and so do I. I think we won substantially,” he said.

Mr Limbaugh, who reportedly earned around $87m a year, began the Rush Limbaugh Show in 1988 with just 56 stations taking it in syndication.

The show would eventually grow into the most popular radio show in the country with more than 27 million weekly listeners on more than 600 stations across the US.

During his final radio show in 2020, Mr Limbaugh, who smoked cigars for 30 years, thanked his listeners and told them he had outlived his medical prognosis.

“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said.

“I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.”

Political observers credit Mr Limbaugh with shaping the modern Republican party, and in helping Mr Trump compete for and win the White House.

During the 2020 election Mr Trump called into the show for a two-hour “radio rally” as he recovered at the White House from Covid-19.

Mr Limbaugh began his radio career in 1957 at the age of 16 as a station “helper”, before getting his first show at a small station in Missouri while still in high school.

“I was totally consumed,” Mr Limbaugh told the New York Times in 1990.

Mr Limbaugh was married four times, including his last one to 43-year-old party planner Kathryn Rogers, whom he tied the knot with in 2010.

Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas officiated his third wedding.

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