Rush Limbaugh finished his show Monday with startling news: the talk radio giant is being treated for advanced lung cancer.
Limbaugh prefaced the bombshell announcement by saying, “This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming. 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 had developed between all of you and me.”
Limbaugh went on to tell listeners that he had some news that he wished he didn’t have to share. “It’s a struggle for me, because I had to inform my staff earlier today,” Limbaugh continued. “I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
Limbaugh said the diagnosis has been confirmed by two medical institutions since he first noticed something wasn’t right on Jan. 12.
“There are going to be days that I'm not going to be able to be here, because I will be undergoing treatment.” The talk radio kingpin said he has “a great team of doctors” moving “full speed ahead” on treatment and that hoped to back on the air this Thursday or “as soon as I can.” He added, “It’s just a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”
“The Rush Limbaugh Show” broadcasts weekdays from noon-3pm Eastern on more than 650 affiliates reaching millions of listeners. Limbaugh, 69, signed a new long-term syndication deal with iHeartMedia’s Premiere Networks in early January.
“I thought about not telling anybody,” Limbaugh said in the closing moments of his show Monday. “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.”
Later he added, “I know you're there every day, I can't see you but I know you're there, and I know that you understand everything I say. You’ve been one of the great sources of confidence that I’ve had in my life.”
Following Limbaugh’s announcement, iHeartMedia Chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and President and COO Chairman Rich Bressler issued a statement. “Over his last 31 years on-air he has developed a deeply personal relationship with his listeners and he intends to remain on the air, being there with his audience. We know millions of people nationwide join me and all of iHeart in wishing him a full recovery,” the statement said. “Rush is both a colleague and a dear friend, and we know he will handle the situation with courage and grace. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we are supporting them in every way.”
Longtime Limbaugh producer Bo Snerdley reacted to 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.”
Fellow conservative talker Sean Hannity replayed Limbaugh’s show closing remarks at the start of his afternoon radio show, saying the shocking announcement “is a moment that stops me on a dime.”