Influential Conservative Radio Icon Rush Limbaugh Dead at the Age of 70


Courtesy of NBC News

Rush Limbaugh dies at age 70, leaving behind his true legacy.

Nikole Galea, Photojournalist

Rush Limbaugh, a monumentally influential media icon who transformed talk radio and politics in his decades behind the microphone, and helped shape the modern-day Republican Party, has been announced dead Wednesday, February 17 at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer. For decades, he used his national broadcast to promote racial prejudice, spread unproven conspiracy theories, and denigrate women and LGBTQ people. 

Rush Limbaugh was born on January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, U.S. Limbaugh was the oldest of two sons of the well-known Cape Girardeau family. When he was 16 he began working at the local radio station before and after school. After he graduated from high school, he attended Southeast Missouri State University, but then dropped out a year in. Rush Limbaugh left home in 1971 to pursue a career in radio but quit after being fired from stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Kansas City, Missouri. From there he began to work in ticket sales for the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team. Five years later he was back on the radio as a news commentator, but he was fired for being too controversial. Although he was still hired in 1984, for a popular radio station in Sacramento and within a year he became the top radio host there.

Limbaugh was such a constant advocate for a ton of controversies “In 2003, while working as a sports analyst for ESPN, Limbaugh caused an uproar after making race-related comments about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb” he stated “that the ‘media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.’ Limbaugh ultimately resigned from the sports channel.” (Britannica). Clearly, things didn’t go his way when he spoke his mind which resulted in plenty of consequence. 

Despite such controversies, Limbaugh had a huge influence among many Republicans. Limbaugh was credited with helping the Republican Party win control of both houses of Congress, and four years later he was a key figure in the efforts to impeach Pres. Bill Clinton. He was a major supporter of the administration of Pres. George W. Bush, and in 2009 Limbaugh helped galvanize Republican opposition to a stimulus package proposed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats. In 2008 Rush signed an eight-year deal worth some $400 million to remain on the radio, and he renewed his contract in 2016. In addition, he had also been a big vocal advocate for President Donald Trump.

Rush Limbaugh has had many physical setbacks in his later career which he fought through. This included being 100 percent deaf. In 2001, Limbaugh announced that he had lost most of his ability to hear. He publicly stated that the condition was not genetic. Doctors at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles were able to successfully restore a measure of his hearing through cochlear implant surgery, and he had to receive a bionic ear. People were confused with his sudden hearing loss which he responded it was caused by his addiction to opioids. Then in 2005 Limbaugh was forced to undergo “tuning” due to an eye twitch, an apparent side-effect of cochlear implants. Another instance was while vacationing in Honolulu, Hawaii when Limbaugh was admitted into a hospital because he was experiencing intense chest pains. His doctors attributed the pain to angina pectoris. 

However, the critical health issue that led Limbaugh to his death was his lung cancer. Limbaugh was a former cigarette smoker, who was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on January 20, 2020, after first experiencing shortness of breath on January 12. He previously had downplayed the link between smoking and cancer deaths, arguing that it “takes 50 years to kill people, if it does”.

Imaan Moten (9), “ Throughout his career as his biases grew so did the group of people in opposition of him. Regardless of the fact that he didn’t always have agreeable opinions he did take hold of his life and found his path that he wanted which can be very admirable.” May this commendable man rest in peace.