Legendary conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer at age 70, his family announced Wednesday.
Garnering an audience of more than 15 million listeners each week, Limbaugh transformed talk radio as a titan of the industry, becoming an indispensable voice of the conservative movement. In 2015, Limbaugh was one of few voices on the right to take President Donald Trump’s candidacy seriously in the beginning, helping to catapult Trump’s rise from a reality television New York businessman all the way to the White House.
First Lady Melania Trump presented Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the Republican president’s final State of the Union address last year, one day after the radio host revealed his diagnosis with advanced-stage lung cancer.
“Thank you for your decades of devotion to our country,” Trump said in the prime time address.
Trump dedicated his first post-presidential interview to honoring Limbaugh on Fox News Wednesday.
“He was a fantastic man. He was a fantastic talent,” Trump said.
BREAKING: Former President Trump Reacts to the Death of Rush Limbaugh Live on Air pic.twitter.com/iBmchjBGfI
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 17, 2021
Others paid tribute to the icon of conservative radio with personal testimonials on Twitter.
Comedian Daniel Whitney, popularly known as Larry the Cable Guy, wrote about listening to Limbaugh in the 1990s while working construction on his Florida home.
“He was a familiar voice in a chaotic world,” Whitney said.
I worked, saved and bought my first house for 100 grand in 94 in Sanford Fla. When I closed, I laid on the floor in an empty structure except I had a radio. I was staring at the ceiling in unbelief that I’d bought a house. I was listening to Rush in the background. I’ll miss him.
— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) February 17, 2021
It’s bittersweet Rush died on my bday. I’m sad I won’t get to hear him anymore. Say what ya want but he was a familiar voice in a chaotic world that if you were a fan, when ya heard him, it just made ya think everything was still good and that we’ll get through it. Love ya Rush.
— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) February 17, 2021
Longtime Fox News political analyst Brit Hume shared how Limbaugh triumphantly broke through media barriers to provide a prominent platform for conservative thought.
“More than any single person, Rush Limbaugh helped break the left’s monopoly in the media. The left is still dominant, but not to the extent it was before he came along,” Hume wrote. “He was a giant.”
RIP. More than any single person, Rush Limbaugh helped break the left’s monopoly in the media. The left is still dominant, but not to the extent it was before he came along. He waged a brave struggle against deafness and later, the cancer that killed him. He was a giant. https://t.co/en5VQ9yCnW
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 17, 2021
Read others below from pundits, politicians, and policymakers who shared their tributes to a titan of American radio:
RIP, Rush Limbaugh.
The marketplace he created is so crowded now it’s hard to appreciate the impact he made, but so many of his callers opened with how grateful they were just to be represented that he asked people with those sentiments to say “Dittos” instead to save time.
— David Hines (@hradzka) February 17, 2021
That's the real measure of Rush's impact. He helped so many people realize they were not alone, even as the mainstream media labored to make them feel isolated and hopeless. He understood that totalitarians overwhelm and dominate ordinary people by making them *feel* surrounded.
— John Hayward (@Doc_0) February 17, 2021
Rush Limbaugh's influence on the trajectory of US media and politics in the past 30 years is almost impossible to adequately articulate
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 17, 2021
There isn’t a broadcaster today who cannot give credit to Limbaugh. He created the industry and “infotainment.” The modern conservative movement wouldn’t be what it is without his contribution before social media, before the Internet.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 17, 2021
Rush Limbaugh was an architect of the center-right movement, defined & dominated political talk radio for decades & gave daily voice to millions of pro-freedom Americans.
Rush’s inimitable influence inspires his listeners & inflames his critics🇺🇸
Sympathy to his family. RIP🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/vAmHwJ8Oco
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 17, 2021
Rush Limbaugh was the greatest broadcaster in history. The man created an industry from nothing and in the process taught several generations of Americans about the virtues of freedom and liberty. He was a giant, irreplaceable, a legend who made this country immeasurably better.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 17, 2021
Love you, Rush! The greatest radio man in history. An absolute master of the craft. And a brilliant hero to many. If you didn't listen to him, or only heard him in selectively edited snippets from the hostile media, you won't understand. pic.twitter.com/W2h8BcwbC1
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 17, 2021
Rush Limbaugh was an icon, patriot, and American hero.
No one fought harder for freedom and liberty.
The greatest radio host of all-time will be missed by millions. God bless his family.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 17, 2021
Rest in peace to the tireless voice for freedom and the conservative movement Rush Limbaugh.
I’m praying for the entire Limbaugh family.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 17, 2021
So sorry to hear about the passing of Rush Limbaugh. I started listening to him in 1990. Like so many, he opened my eyes to so many conservative ideas.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) February 17, 2021