If you’ve ever listened to a minute of conservative talk radio, ever written a sentence for New Media on the Right, this man has been a part of it. Rush Limbaugh practically carved out the conservative media space starting in the 1980s, and he’s been its most prominent voice ever since. Today, however, Rush announced that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, and will be taking some time off for treatment.

Julio Rosas captured the audio of the announcement:

It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t escape… Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.

I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I’m not gonna be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on.

And the worst thing that can happen is when there is something going on and you try to hide it and cover it up. It’s eventually gonna leak, and then people are gonna say, “Why didn’t you just say it? Why’d you try to fool everybody? ” It’s not that I want to fool anybody. It’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it, and I haven’t wanted to. But it is what it is. You know me; I’m the mayor of Realville.

So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I’ve had so much support from family and friends during this that it’s just been tremendous. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about.

Oh my. It takes some strength to make this public; it might have been easier to just quietly deal with the treatments and keep a lid on it. Duane Patterson, my partner in crime on Thursdays and one of my best pals otherwise, went through this a couple of times and noted just how tough it is to go through this in public:

I also know him to be a very philanthropic man, with me as a personal beneficiary. Readers of Captain’s Quarters may recall that Rush quietly reached out to me to make sure I didn’t fall into addiction when I ruptured a disc in my back. I wrote about it at the time, with his (perhaps initially reluctant) permission. Later, he personally introduced me at CPAC via video when they honored me with their Blogger of the Year award. That astounded me at the time. Still does!

Rush’s new battle reminds me of a scene from Patton. While moving troops to relieve Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, Patton’s adjutant tells him, “General McAuliffe refused a German surrender demand. You know what he said?” Patton replied, “What?”

“Nuts!” said the colonel.

“Keep them moving, Colonel,” Patton replied with a laugh. “A man that eloquent has to be saved.”

That’s exactly what my prayer will be: Lord, a man this eloquent has to be saved! I hope you will all join me in praying for a full and quick recovery for our friend Rush, and for his doctors and care team doing their best to provide it.