BREAKING: RIP, Rush Limbaugh -- the giant of conservative media

Rush Limbaugh was always a fighter — and he battled his Stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis longer than many thought possible. Today, however, his family and his radio platform announced that the father of modern conservative media has passed away at age 70. Limbaugh leaves behind him an entire industry that now works in the space he hewed out of the media wilderness:

Missouri native and political radio host Rush Limbaugh has died at the age of 70 following a year long battle with lung cancer. Limbaugh’s wife announced his death on his radio show Wednesday.

Limbaugh announced his diagnoses during his radio show on Feb. 3, 2020. The following day he was awarded the Medal of Freedom from former President Donald Trump at the 2020 State of the Union address.

Limbaugh hosted his show “The Rush Limbaugh Show for 32 years. He was a Republican party icon and a close ally of Trump’s. Since his diagnoses, Limbaugh continued to host his show, only missing from time to time for treatment. …

Limbaugh was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998. Additionally, he’s a five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting.

It’s impossible to overstate what Limbaugh meant — and still means — to the conservative movement, and for that matter the entire radio industry. He seized the opening provided by the end of the Fairness Doctrine and never stopped running with it. Not only did he build the conservative media industry into a national powerhouse, he almost single-handedly rescued the entire AM radio band from obsolescence. Limbaugh proved the talk-radio model worked, and then kept expanding his reach into the online and television worlds after he succeeded in radio.

There will be plenty of detailed obits about his career to read today, but this is more than just a professional loss for me; it’s also a personal loss. I would never describe myself as a close friend to Rush, but we kept up a warm if all-too-occasional correspondence over the last fifteen years or so. In fact, Rush initiated that in 2006 when I wrote about a back injury and discussed the use of painkillers. Even though we had never communicated before, Rush wrote me a lengthy, affectionate, and educated warning about painkillers and how to keep from getting addicted to them. He only reluctantly agreed to let me write about that in June 2006, as I wanted people to know about Rush’s kind-heartedness. Not too long after that, Rush recorded a video introducing me as CPAC’s Blogger of the Year. Ever since, we would e-mail occasionally, and Rush was unfailingly friendly, supportive, encouraging, and happy to hear from me. His support meant more to me than many know, and perhaps even more than I know myself.

I am going to miss my friend, even more than I will miss the godfather of the industry in which I work. Rest in peace with the Lord, Rush; put in a good word or two for me, as you have always done, on air and off. The rest of us will try to keep advancing the cause in the best ways we know how, and will lean on your courage, pioneering spirit, and joy in the adventure to do so. And needless to say, our thoughts and prayers are with his family, including his brother David, whom I am also fortunate to know.