Radio and TV host Rush Limbaugh, one of the leading voices of the conservative movement over the last 30 years, has died at the age of 70.
Limbaugh died on Wednesday after a battle with advanced lung cancer. He announced his diagnosis to listeners of his radio show back in February 2020; his wife, Kathryn, broke the news of his passing on Wednesday’s radio broadcast.
Working in radio since he was a teen, Limbaugh rose to prominence with his self-titled radio show, which entered national syndication in 1988. Limbaugh promoted conservative viewpoints and railed against the liberal media, making Bill and Hillary Clinton his main targets when Bill was elected President in 1992. (He was so influential, when Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, the freshman class awarded Limbaugh an honorary membership in their caucus.)
Limbaugh’s radio show spawned a self-titled TV series as well, which aired in syndication from 1992 to 1996. (The show was produced by future Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.) He also had a brief, ill-fated stint as a commentator on ESPN’s NFL coverage in 2003, leaving the network after stirring controversy by criticizing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and insisting that “the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”
Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump during Trump’s State of the Union speech in February 2020, in recognition of his “decades of tireless devotion to our country,” Trump said.