Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh announced on Monday that he has been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer” but plans to continue to do his program “as normally and as competently” as he can while he undergoes treatment.
Limbaugh, 69, said on the air he “first realized something was wrong” over the weekend of his Jan. 12 birthday, after he began experiencing shortness of breath, and that his diagnosis was confirmed on Jan. 20 by two medical institutions.
Limbaugh, who has hosted his daily program for 31 years, said he would be absent from the broadcast for “the next couple of days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done.”
“But as I said, I’m going to be here as often as I can,” he added.
Limbaugh has been a darling of the political right and a nemesis of the left since launching his show in 1985 amid the Republican revolution of Ronald Reagan, a man he has called “the greatest president of the 20th century.”
Brash and colorful – he coined the term “femi-Nazis” to disparage women’s rights groups and once said the “difference between Los Angeles and yogurt is that yogurt comes with less fruit – he helped spawn a wave of conservative commentators on radio, television and the internet.
He has experienced a variety of other medical problems over the past couple of decades, including a loss of hearing reversed by an electronic device called a cochlear implant, as well as an addiction to prescription painkillers that landed him in rehab for several weeks in 2003.