Conservative commentator and radio personality Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday, Feb. 17. Limbaugh was well known for his outspoken reporting and controversial statements.

Limabugh’s passing was seemingly confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, on the Rush Limbaugh Show’s website. He lost his battle to lung cancer at age 70.

“Hello, everyone. I know that I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,” Kathryn said. “I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting.”

Limbaugh first announced his lung cancer diagnosis in February 2020 after doctor confirmation on Jan. 20, 2020. Days after his announcement, Limbaugh was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in former President Trump’s State of the Union Address.

“Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country's highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Trump said.

Limbaugh contributed his career to journalism as a hard hitting, on-air reporter with controversial opinions. He began at gospel radio station WIXZ in McKeesport, Pa. but a year and a half later was fired due to personality conflicts with the station's program director. He went on to be fired or dismissed from his next few jobs in radio. 

After continuous failures in radio, Limbaugh temporarily pursued sales work as the director of sales for the Kansas City Royals in 1979. In 1983, he made his return to radio with KMBZ out of Kansas City before moving to KFBK out of Sacramento, Calif. 

It was his work in Sacramento that kicked off the domination of his career. According to Business Insider, following the Federal Communication Commission’s 1987 Fairness Doctrine appeal — broadcasters no longer had to present both sides of an issue or argument — Limbaugh finally felt liberated to no longer have to report on the liberal side of politics. 

He largely contributed to partisan reporting within broadcast news. This is exemplified today through outlets like Fox News and CNN. 

In 1988, Limbaugh started his tenure with ABC radio. This is where he gained his accredited fame and recognition. WABC is where he remained for the rest of his career with his show “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  

Limbaugh made continual inappropriate and vexed statements throughout his broadcasting career. He on many occasions made racist comments toward the NFL, NBA, criminals, welfare and immigration laws. 

“I think it's time to get rid of this whole National Basketball Association,” Limbaugh said in 2004 regarding a brawl that took place between basketball players and a few fans. “Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call 'em gangs.” 

Limbaugh seemed to never be receptive with the changing of societal movements. He essentially thought sexual consent was a joke and thought of it as a liberal thing. According to The Washington Post, Limbaugh mocked consent, saying, “Here comes the rape police.” 

Furthermore, he associated feminism with Nazi’s, coining the term “feminazi,” according to USA Today.

Limbaugh was wildly against former President Barack Obama and often wished upon his failure as president. On Jan. 16, 2009 Limbaugh released a statement on his website titled Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” In contrast, he was an active supporter of Trump. 

In addition to his battle with lung cancer, Limbaugh almost went deaf in 2000. He got a cochlear implant in 2001.

Limbaugh was married four times but never had any children. He is survived by his wife Kathryn. Limbaugh will always be remembered for his contribution to conservative news and his success within broadcast radio.


Follow Blake Haynes on Twitter, @BLAMHAY

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