US radio talk show host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on before introducing US President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, MO, on November 5, 2018.
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Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh announced on his program Monday that he has been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.”
Limbaugh, 69, said he will take time off his normal broadcast schedule to seek treatment.
“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me,” Limbaugh said. “I can’t escape. … Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this.”
He said the diagnosis was confirmed by two medical institutions after he realized “something was wrong” in mid-January.
“I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, because I don’t like making things about me,” said Limbaugh, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.
“But there are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here, because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment,” he said.
Trump tweeted about Limbaugh’s diagnosis Monday night, calling the host “a great guy & fantastic political talent,” and wishing him “a speedy recovery.”
Limbaugh, whose career stretches to the early 1970s, has been a conservative media legend and household name — even among the many detractors to his left, who accuse him of injecting a harmful strain of far-right demagoguery into the U.S. media landscape.
His millions of regular listeners, however, credit him as a leading political thought leader who punctured a left-skewing media bubble and proudly promoted Republican and conservative ideals.
Limbaugh “was the innovator who spoke for the Americans ignored and disrespected by the elites,” Trump lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a tweet Monday. “America needs Rush.”
Limbaugh was as recognizable for his distinctively brash, scrappy vocal timbre as he was for his cigar-smoking habit, for which he was so well-known that he even appeared on the spring 1994 cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine.
While the radio man steered clear of the so-called mainstream news narratives, he often found himself at the center of mainstream controversy.