Rush Limbaugh, the self-proclaimed "Doctor of Democracy" who spearheaded the conservative media revolution by beating "Feminazis", "environmentalists", "Commie Libs" and black celebrities – particularly former President Barack Obama – died on Wednesday. He was 70 years old.
His wife announced his death on his radio show.
"I know I'm definitely not the Limbaugh you heard about today," said Kathryn Limbaugh. "I, like you, wish very much that Rush was behind that golden microphone and would welcome you to another extraordinary three hours of broadcast. … It is with deep sadness that I must tell you directly that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away today Tomorrow because of lung cancer complications. "
Former President Donald Trump told Fox News on Wednesday that he spoke to Limbaugh three or four days earlier. "He fought to the end," Trump said in his first public comments since leaving office last month. "He's a legend. He really is."
Another former president, George W. Bush, also lamented Limbaugh's death. "While he was bold, sometimes controversial and always empathetic, he spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans and competed with enthusiasm every day," Bush said in a statement. "Rush Limbaugh was an indomitable spirit with a big heart and he will be missed."
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden "condolences to family and friends".
A day after a Trumpist riot in January to undo Democrat Biden's victory in the November election, Limbaugh compared the invaders of the U.S. Capitol to the patriots of the Revolutionary War.
"There are many people who are calling for an end to the violence," Limbaugh said on his radio program. “There's a lot of conservative, social media out there saying that violence or aggression is not at all acceptable. Regardless of the circumstances. I'm glad to see Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea party people, the men in Lexington and Concord didn't do this doesn't feel that way. "
In December he said conservative states were "leaning towards secession".
As his cancer progressed, Limbaugh went off the air on February 2. His microphone was manned by substitutes a week before Trump's second impeachment proceedings began.
But his position was unmistakable. "They didn't win this thing in a fair and fair way, and we won't just be docile like in the past and go away and wait for the next election," he told the audience six weeks after Biden's victory in The Election.
The bitter radio host, who attracted and delighted millions of fans with satirical abuse and insulted and angry millions of others, announced in February 2020 that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. A day later, then-President Trump presented him with the President's Medal of Freedom in a surprise announcement during the State of the Union address.
"This is not good news," Trump said at the time, referring to the diagnosis. "But what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh: Thank you so much for your decades of untiring dedication to our country."
In October Limbaugh informed his audience that his condition was going in the wrong direction.
"It's hard to see that the days of not believing I am under a death sentence are over," Limbaugh said. "Now we're all the point. We all know we're going to die at some point, but when you have a diagnosis of an incurable disease that has a timeframe that represents a different psychological and even physical awareness."
Days before Limbaugh's update, he hosted a "radio rally" for Trump with a lot of singing "We love you" and the president speaking for much of the two-hour event during his recovery from Covid-19.
Limbaugh was key to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, which promoted Rep. Newt Gingrich to the Speaker of the House and eventually led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
"Rush Limbaugh was the innovator who spoke for the Americans who were ignored and disregarded by the elites," Trump attorney Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a tweet after Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was born on January 12, 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His father and grandfather were lawyers. The grandfather was named Rush in honor of a relative, Edna Rush.
Limbaugh began his broadcasting career as a top 40 20-year-old DJ in western Pennsylvania in 1971 after leaving Southeast Missouri State University. After a number of later jobs, including five years with the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball, he finally landed a talk show at KFBK in Sacramento, California in 1984. He replaced Morton Downey Jr., who resigned after jokingly used a racist term a councilor of Chinese descent.
At the time, the daily talk radio was largely local. Four years later, in 1988, Limbaugh gained national fame after joining WABC-AM in New York, attracted by network manager Edward F. McLaughlin. Within two years, more than 5 million people listened to "The Rush Limbaugh Show" – three hours a day, five days a week – on nearly 300 channels, wrote media critic Lewis Grossberger in the New York Times Magazine in late 1990.
Rush Limbaugh in 1995 in his radio studio.
Mark Peterson | Corbis | Getty Images
To mark the show's 20th anniversary, he signed an eight-year contract renewal for $ 400 million with iHeartMedia's Premiere Radio Networks. At the time, the show was broadcast on nearly 600 local channels. In 2016 he signed a new contract for an undisclosed amount for "four more years," he announced on the air.
"His subject is politics. His attitude: conservative. His person: weirdly bubbly. His style: a schizoid spray that vacillates between serious lecturer and political variety," wrote Grossberg in Times magazine in 1990.
Limbaugh's shtick about what he called his Excellence in Broadcasting (EIB) network may have been a satire for millions, but countless others viewed him as a misogynist, racist hate-dealer who helped to overdrive the polarization of the nation, which paved the way for Trump's 2016 election victory.
Shortly before starting WABC, he came up with "Rush's First 35 Undeniable Truths of Life". At the top of the list was: "The greatest threat to humanity lies in the USSR's nuclear arsenal." It ended with: "You should thank God for making you an American. Instead of feeling guilty, you should help spread our ideas around the world." In between: (# 7) "There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons – to use them"; (# 21) "Abortion is Wrong"; (# 25) "Evolution cannot explain creation"; and (# 31) "For more and more people, a victorious USA is a sinful USA."
Here is a selection of other verbal cudgels that Limbaugh used in his war on political correctness.
– The indisputable truth of Life No. 24, which he repeated several times over the years, struck what he called "Feminazis": "Feminism was introduced to allow unattractive women easier access to mainstream society."
– While working as an ESPN commentator in 2003, he overrated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and went on to say, "I think what we've had here is a little social problem in the NFL. The media has turned a lot wished that a Black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he has received a lot of credit for this team's performance that he did not deserve. The defense has sustained this team back from ESPN.
– In 2007 Limbaugh was referring to the antics of National Football League players dancing in the end zone after touchdowns by the notorious Los Angeles street gangs: "Let me put it this way. The NFL looks like one all too often Game between the Bloods and the Crips without weapons. That's where I said it. "
– In March 2018, he discussed a scientific study that warned of environmental dangers from Easter chocolates: "Now from an environmentally conscious Wacko group at the University of Manchester in England, which warns everyone: Beware of the chocolate Easter bunny and these chocolate eggs wrapped in foil. Either of these could be "environmentally harmful," warns a new study that says such confectionery can harm the environment. "
– Four days before Obama's first inauguration on January 20, 2009, Limbaugh spoke about being asked to write 400 words about his hopes for the Obama presidency. "I'm with the people on our side of the aisle who broke down and said, 'Well, I hope he succeeds.' … OK, I'll send you an answer, but I need to no 400 words, I need four: & # 39; I hope he fails. & # 39; "
– During the 2016 election campaign, Limbaugh made a proposal from Hillary Clinton to open public colleges to children whose families earned less than $ 125,000 a year: "The first rule in adulthood is that there is no 'free' ; Stuff there. Someone you have to pay your commie lib professors to spit out all of those anti-capitalist, anti-American BS that are considered education these days. "
– In the midst of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020, he compared the outbreak to the common cold and accused the media of causing panic. "This coronavirus? All this panic is just not justified," he said on the air. "They're not uncommon. Coronaviruses are cold and respiratory flu viruses. There's nothing about it except where it came from and the panic of the wandering media. … This is on the way to wiping out the US economy, and it is also." be more than just Donald Trump and his re-election chances, which will be hurt if this happens. … Nothing beats wiping out the entire US economy with a biothreat from China, right? "
Years before he was diagnosed with cancer, Limbaugh had other health problems. He had hearing problems and had a cochlear implant in 2001. Two years later, he developed an addiction to prescription pain relievers, which he began using after a botched back surgery. Limbaugh was eventually charged with shopping for doctors to prescribe drugs for his addiction. He pleaded innocent and later contracted the prosecution to drop charges in exchange for paying Limbaugh $ 30,000 to cover the cost of the examination and therapy.
Limbaugh was married four times, most recently to Kathryn Rogers on June 5, 2010, with Elton John providing entertainment. The ceremony for Limbaugh's third marriage to Marta Fitzgerald, a former aerobics instructor he met online, was performed by Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, at Thomas' home in Northern Virginia on May 27, 1994. They divorced 10 years later. His previous marriages also ended in divorce.
Limbaugh was actively involved in charity. According to Andrea Greif, a spokeswoman for the organization, his EIB Cure-a-thon raised around $ 50 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society over a period of 26 years to the end of the annual event in 2016. He also raised funds for and served on the board of directors of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.
Limbaugh, a cigar smoker, appeared on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine in 1994. Five years before he announced he had lung cancer, he denied any link between secondhand smoke and cancer.
"That's a myth. The World Health Organization refuted it and the report was suppressed. There is no death at all. There is no (t) any major disease component associated with secondhand smoke. It can irritate you, and maybe you too Not." like it, but it won't make you sick and it won't kill you, "he said on his show." Firsthand smoke takes 50 years to kill people if it does. Not everyone who smokes gets cancer. Now it is true that everyone who smokes dies, but everyone who eats carrots also dies. "
In his October 2020 update of his condition, he told the audience, "From the moment you get the diagnosis, there is a part of you every day, OK this is it, life is over, you just don't know when … So during the post-diagnosis period, do what you can to prolong life and do what you can to prolong life happily. "