Legendary conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh died at 70 on Wednesday morning after a year-long battle with Stage IV lung cancer. He spent more than three decades hosting “The Rush Limbaugh Show” which became the nation’s most popular radio program with up to 27 million weekly listeners.
“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said in his final 2020 broadcast. “I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.”
During his time on air, Limbaugh influenced a generation of Fox News hosts and commentators, here’s how they remembered him:
“He was an innovator. He was a pioneer. He was a trailblazer. He was a great patriot,” Sean Hannity praised in his opening monologue. “He fought every single day to make this country a more perfect union and a better place.”
Hannity described him as an “unyielding champion” of freedom for everyone.
“It wasn’t just [if you were] a conservative or a Republican. His love for country and the people who live here was boundless,” he said. “Over five decades, it was his words, his principles, his ideals, his spirit — it shaped the soul of a nation.”
Former Fox host Glenn Beck told Tucker Carlson that Limbaugh was responsible for saving AM radio. “That medium was over. He completely reinvented it,” he remembered. “He was the first voice since Kennedy was in office that didn’t have to answer and have a liberal on the other side. He could actually speak in a way people understood. He was a great teacher.”
Laura Ingraham mourned Limbaugh as both a radio personality and a friend that supported her own cancer battle.
“I think more than anything else for the people out there who had the chance to really get to know him on the radio, that sense of eternal optimism about the American experience is going to be sorely missed,” Ingraham lamented. “So that part of his spirit I think … it’s a cataclysmic loss.”
As a friend, I will say, as someone who has gone through cancer and lived through that, he was one of the first people I called and he was one of the people that just got me through it,” recalled of her 2005 battle with the illness, “I wish that I could have done for more him.”