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The radio industry reacted with shocked disbelief and messages of compassion and support following the bombshell news Monday that Rush Limbaugh is being treated for advanced lung cancer. Talk hosts, acknowledging the pioneering path Limbaugh paved for the format, took to the airwaves and social media to offer encouragement and praise.

Limbaugh made the stunning revelation in a heartfelt closing segment on his Monday show. The influential conservative radio host said the diagnosis has been confirmed by two medical institutions since he first noticed something wasn’t right on Jan. 12. He added that he has “a great team of doctors” who are moving “full speed ahead” on treatment and that he hoped to be back on the air this Thursday or “as soon as I can.”

The outpouring began almost immediately. “#Rush you are in our prayers. We live in a time of modern miracles. Millions are praying you find one,” tweeted Glenn Beck.

Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt called Limbaugh in a Twitter post “the guy who built the national talk radio mall, bringing voice to tens of millions who never had one. Everyone else is just a tenant,” added Hewitt, calling Limbaugh “a gentleman and a help to everyone in the business.”

At the start of his afternoon radio show Monday, Sean Hannity replayed Limbaugh’s show closing remarks in which he revealed the grim diagnosis. “It just hit me like a ton of bricks,” the Fox News and Premiere Networks host said. Hannity, whose show follows Limbaugh on numerous talk stations, called Limbaugh “incredibly stoic and courageous… Talk radio wouldn’t be anything like it is if it wasn’t for Rush,” he added, echoing a sentiment expressed by many hosts.

Appearing on Hannity’s radio show, Westwood One’s Mark Levin said he pulled over to the side of the road when he heard the news. “We know he'll fight like hell,” Levin said. “In your lifetime, there's a handful of people who really affect the world, and he's one of the handful.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka opened his “America First” program moments after Limbaugh’s announcement, asking his listeners to “stop for a moment and say a prayer for the man to whom we owe so much.” The Salem Radio Network personality credited Limbaugh with making “all successful, modern conservative talk shows possible.”

“Do what you do so well, Rush – FIGHT,” tweeted Former Fox News anchor and NBC News correspondent Megyn Kelly. Tweets of support also came from the halls of Congress, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In a statement, iHeartMedia Chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and President and COO Chairman Rich Bressler called the top-rated host “both a colleague and a dear friend,” pointing to the “deeply personal relationship” Limbaugh cultivated with his listeners over the past 31 years. “We know millions of people nationwide join me and all of iHeart in wishing him a full recovery,” the statement said. “He intends to remain on the air, being there with his audience.”

“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.

In Washington, Cumulus Media VP of News/Talk Bill Hess said affiliate WMAL’s phones were “abuzz” with well-wishers ever since Rush made the announcement. “Thirty years ago, Rush revitalized AM radio by teaching a generation of broadcasters how to be entertaining and edgy while discussing the news of the day,” said Hess, who also is Program Director of the talk station. “His commitment to his craft, and to the spoken word medium, provides great inspiration to developing talents today.”

Longtime talk radio consultant Holland Cooke noted how Limbaugh is “the keystone for so many stations” and “a comfortable constancy.” Affiliates that Cooke consults “are reacting to this as though he’s a family member,” Cooke said.

And at Salem Radio Network, VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup said everyone at the net “was stunned” by the news. “Rush Limbaugh—more than any other individual—literally saved and revitalized the AM band and talk radio itself in the 1980’s…and he remains the vortex of the whole shebang to this very day.”