Rush Limbaugh has died at the age of 70.
His death was announced on Wednesday by his wife, Kathryn Rogers, on his radio show. The right-wing radio personality, whose impact on the GOP’s more extreme messaging is well-documented, died due to complications from lung cancer.
Limbaugh’s career on radio, as well as a slew of TV appearances and several books, is widely pointed to as having helped shape the Republican party into what it is today. More recently, he was a fervent supporter of single-term POTUS Donald Trump, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.
“Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” Trump said at the time.
As for Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Limbaugh was among those who helped spread the baseless conspiracy theory surrounding his citizenship. And in 2012, Obama came to the defense of activist Sandra Fluke, who was called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh.
In a press conference that year held after Limbaugh issued an apology, Obama reflected on the impact of those comments.
“All decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse and the reason I called [Fluke] was because I thought about Malia and Sasha,” Obama said at the time. “One of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way and I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens. I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her.”
Below, see an excerpt from the statement Kathryn made on the air on Wednesday, per NBC News:
“For over 32 years, Rush has cherished you, his loyal audience, and always looked forward to every single show. It is with profound sadness that I must share with you directly that our beloved Rush, my wonderful husband, passed away this morning due to complications from lung cancer,. As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life.”