Virtual memorial service to be held for Rush Limbaugh, widow says

Rush Limbaugh, the groundbreaking talk radio host, has died of lung cancer. He was 70.Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced the news on his radio show, which airs live from noon to 3 p.m. EST nationwide. .Limbaugh’s conservative talk show, heard by at least 20 million people a week during its peak, was deeply influential in shaping the Republican Party and its base.Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $84 million, ranking him behind only Howard Stern among radio personalities.Limbaugh took as a badge of honor the title “most dangerous man in America.”. He said he was the “truth detector,” the “doctor of democracy,” a “lover of mankind,” a “harmless, lovable little fuzz ball” and an “all-around good guy.” .Limbaugh often enunciated the Republican platform better and more entertainingly than any party leader, becoming a GOP kingmaker.His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter of praise that Limbaugh proudly read on the air in 1992: “You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” .In 1994, Limbaugh was so widely credited with the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years the GOP made him an honorary member of the new class.Limbaugh influenced the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and countless other commentators.President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the presidential medal of freedom during his 2020 State of the Union address

The widow of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh said Monday there will be a virtual memorial service for her late husband because of the coronavirus.

“We are in the initial stages of planning a celebration of life that will be able to be viewed by all of the audience and friends and extended family at some point in the near future. We don’t have an exact date just yet; we’re working on some of the logistics,” Kathryn Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh, the talk radio host who ripped into liberals and laid waste to political correctness that made him one of the most powerful voices in politics, influencing the rightward push of American conservatism, died Feb. 17 after more than a yearlong battle with stage 4 lung cancer. He was 70.

Limbaugh galvanized listeners for more than 30 years with his talent for sarcastic, insult-laced commentary. He called himself an entertainer, but his rants during his three-hour weekday radio show broadcast on nearly 600 U.S. stations shaped the national political conversation, swaying ordinary Republicans and the direction of their party.

Blessed with a made-for-broadcasting voice, he delivered his opinions with such certainty that his followers, or “Ditto-heads,” as he dubbed them, took his words as sacred truth.

“In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,” Limbaugh, with typical immodesty, told author Zev Chafets in the 2010 book “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.”

Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $84 million, ranking him only behind Howard Stern among radio personalities.

Limbaugh took as a badge of honor the title “most dangerous man in America.” He said he was the “truth detector,” the “doctor of democracy,” a “lover of mankind,” a “harmless, lovable little fuzz ball” and an “all-around good guy.” He claimed he had “talent on loan from God.”

Limbaugh often enunciated the Republican platform better and more entertainingly than any party leader, becoming a GOP kingmaker whose endorsement and friendship were sought. Polls consistently found he was regarded as a voice of the party.

His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter of praise that Limbaugh proudly read on the air in 1992: “You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” In 1994, Limbaugh was so widely credited with the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years that the GOP made him an honorary member of the new class.

During the 2016 presidential primaries, Limbaugh said he realized early on that Donald Trump would be the nominee, and he likened the candidate’s deep connection with his supporters to his own. In a 2018 interview, he conceded Trump is rude but said that is because he is “fearless and willing to fight against the things that no Republican has been willing to fight against.”

Trump, for his part, heaped praise on Limbaugh, and during last year’s State of the Union speech, awarded the broadcaster the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, calling his friend “a special man beloved by millions.”

Both men ultimately found Florida more comfortable than New York: The former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate is 8 miles down the same Palm Beach boulevard as Limbaugh’s $50 million beachfront expanse.

Trump called into Fox News Channel to discuss his friend’s death Wednesday, saying they last spoke three or four days ago, lauding him as “a legend” with impeccable political instincts who “was fighting till the very end.”

Former President George W. Bush said Limbaugh “spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.”

Limbaugh influenced the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and countless other conservative commentators who pushed the boundaries of what passes as acceptable public discourse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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