UPDATED 2/5 — Conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh stunned his listening audience Monday with news that he has “advanced lung cancer,” sending shockwaves across the American political landscape.
The veteran radio commentator told listeners, “This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me. I’ve known this moment is coming in the program… I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me,” as quoted by USA Today.
Limbaugh was honored by President Donald Trump during the State Of The Union address by awarding the radio icon the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation. While Republicans and the audience cheered and applauded, many Democrats sat emotionless.
He further revealed that he had considered “not telling anybody…because I don’t like making things about me.”
RELATED: Liberal hate mongers weigh in on Limbaugh’s diagnosis. See the report by CFL’s Joe Newby.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh is a giant in the conservative movement, having been in broadcasting for decades. He also hosted a national television program from 1992 to 1996, but his mainstay has always been radio. At one time, according to a biography at Wikipedia, his weekly audience was 13.25 million listeners. Reports Monday placed that audience at 14 million today. They have included politicians and political pundits, and his daily radio program has been said to be the most listened to radio show in the country.
The news could not come at a worse time for conservatives, with a national election just months away and the presidential campaign just really getting started. This is the kind of environment where Limbaugh has excelled for many years.
“There are going to be days when I’m not able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment,” he told listeners.
The Washington Times is reporting that Limbaugh’s announcement shocked and saddened his listeners and members of his staff. The newspaper said reaction on social media was immediate.
Limbaugh, 69, first realized something was wrong last month while celebrating his birthday. He quickly went to the doctor and the newspaper said his diagnosis was confirmed by “two medical institutions back on January 20.”
Quoted by The Hill, Limbaugh told his listeners, “I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
In 2000, Limbaugh visited Puyallup, Washington, where he appeared in support of then-gubernatorial candidate John Carlson, now a popular morning drive time conservative commentator at Seattle’s KVI-AM, which carried Limbaugh’s daily broadcast for several years. The crowd numbered between 35,000 and 40,000, and turned out to be the largest political campaign gathering in recent history.
Limbaugh’s listeners proudly refer to themselves as “Ditto Heads.”
According to various reports, Limbaugh will be beginning treatment this week. He told the audience he hopes to return to the airwaves on Thursday.
“One thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me,” Limbaugh said.
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