Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh stunned his 20-million member audience Monday with the announcement he’s been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.”
The 69-year-old conservative talk pioneer who shared how his “deeply personal relationship with God” has sustained him through this period, closed his broadcast with the grim news, saying he will take a brief sabbatical for further medical tests and to determine treatment, but hopes to return soon, Fox News reports.
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“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said. “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. … 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 has developed between all of you and me.”
Limbaugh, who began his nationally syndicated radio show about 30 years ago, told his listeners that his job has provided him with the “greatest satisfaction and happiness” of his life.
“So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today,” he said. “I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
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Limbaugh revealed he’s been experiencing shortness of breath that he initially thought might be heart-related but turned out to be a pulmonary malignancy. He credited his faith for sustaining his health amid his cancer battle.
“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously,” Limbaugh said. “I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.”
Limbaugh said he plans to undergo further testing and will “push ahead and keep everything as normal” as he can.
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“I felt that I had to tell you because that’s the kind of relationship that I feel like I have with those of you in this audience,” he said. “Over the years, a lot of people have been very nice, telling me how much this program has meant to them, but whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me.”
“I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled, we’re at full speed ahead on this,” Limbaugh said. “It’s just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”
Limbaugh told listeners that the disease will keep him off the air on certain days when he’ll receive treatment. He said two medical institutions confirmed the diagnosis since he first realized something was wrong on Jan. 12 when he experienced shortness of breath.
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“I thought about not telling anybody,” he said. “It is what it is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville. This has happened and my intention is to come here every day I can, and do this program as normally and competently and expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally.”
“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously,” he said. “I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.”
Limbaugh said he will undergo further testing and planned to “push ahead and keep everything as normal” as he could.
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“I felt that I had to tell you because that’s the kind of relationship that I feel like I have with those of you in this audience,” he said. “Over the years, a lot of people have been very nice, telling me how much this program has meant to them but, whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me.”
The radio veteran — widely considered one of the most powerful voices in conservative media — said he “can’t describe” the feeling but he’s aware his audience understood him.
“The rest of the world may not,” Limbaugh said. “But, I know that you do.”
On social media, Limbaugh’s announcement, made just ahead of World Cancer Day, was met with prayers and well-wishes from a number of supporters.
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His longtime producer, Bo Snerdley, also confirmed the news on Twitter.
“Those of you who are listening to the Rush Limbaugh show now. Pray with us. Thank you. God Bless you Rush Limbaugh. Love you so much Rush,” he wrote.
Those of you who are listening to the Rush Limbaugh show now. Pray with us. Thank you. God Bless you Rush Limbaugh. Love you so much Rush.— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) February 3, 2020