Rush Limbaugh, a dominant force in US conservative punditry and one of the most prominent radio hosts in the country, has died aged 70.
His wife announced his passing on his radio show on Wednesday.
“Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” said Kathryn Limbaugh.
The rightwing host was a pioneer of talk-radio in the late 1980s, luring millions of listeners through his combative and off-the-cuff style, and helping define the modern Republican party.
Born in Missouri, Limbaugh started working in radio after dropping out of university. Over the decades he drew an avid fan base by taunting liberals, to the delight of conservatives, coining incendiary terms such as “feminazi”.
He was an early supporter of Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, and the former president has praised Limbaugh as a “great guy and fantastic political talent”. Trump rewarded Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2020.
Limbaugh last year announced on air that he had advanced lung cancer, telling his fans he would miss upcoming broadcasts ahead of the US presidential election.
He had remained active on his show until February 2, hitting out at liberals and defending the Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol, comparing them to colonists who sparked the American Revolution in the 1700s.
Last October he updated his followers on his health, telling them: “I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now.”
“We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a timeframe to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it,” he said. “It’s tough to realise that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”