Longtime conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh revealed Monday that he was diagnosed with "advanced lung cancer" two weeks ago.
Limbaugh, who has been on the radio since the 1960s and a conservative talk show host since the 1980s, said he would be stepping away from his daily program on certain days for treatment but hopes to return to full health in the near future. Limbaugh, who has claimed that his show reaches 27 million people each week, earns a reported $84 million per year and is one of the most listened-to talk show hosts in the country, according to Talkers Magazine.
"This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me, because I've known this moment was coming," the 69-year-old host told his audience Monday. "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."
"So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn't have to tell you. It's a struggle for me, because I had to inform my staff earlier today," he continued. "I can't help but feel that I'm letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer."
Limbaugh said he will undergo further testing and intends to "push ahead and keep everything as normal" as possible.
"I felt that I had to tell you, because that's the kind of relationship that I feel like I have with those of you in this audience. Over the years, a lot of people have been very nice, telling me how much this program has meant to them. But, whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me," he said. "I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we've got a great bunch of doctors — a great team assembled. We're at full speed ahead on this. It's just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week."
Limbaugh, a close ally of Donald Trump, drew the president's praise last year after defending him following his impeachment.
"I want to thank Rush Limbaugh for the tremendous support he has given to the MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN Movement and our KEEP AMERICA GREAT Agenda!" Trump tweeted in December. "He is a major star who never wavered despite the Fake News Hits he has had to endure. His voice is far bigger than theirs!"
Limbaugh's contract with Premiere Radio Networks was set to expire later this year, but he renewed his deal for four years last month, according to Trump.
"Rush is both a colleague and a dear friend, and I know he will handle the situation with courage and grace," Rich Bessler, the president of Premiere Radio's parent company iHeartMedia, told CNN. "I know millions of people nationwide join me and all of iHeart in wishing him a full recovery."
Some of Limbaugh's longtime critics wished the Republican stalwart well despite the host's frequent divisive statements.
"I just heard the news that Rush Limbaugh has advanced lung cancer. I'm going to show you how this should be done: I wish Rush a speedy and complete recovery from his cancer," anti-Trump Republican strategist Rick Wilson tweeted. "Human being pro-tip: don't wish cancer on *anyone*...even on your adversaries."
"Nobody should have to endure cancer. I don't wish it on anyone. I hope Rush Limbaugh is able to recover from his advanced lung cancer," New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali added. "I hope America invests money, time & research in finding a cure & there's affordable health care for those who are facing this terrible disease."
"I could say a lot about Rush Limbaugh being diagnosed with lung cancer," Raw Story's Matthew Chapman wrote. "But what I'll choose to say is, I'm glad that a man with an extremely painful disease can afford top-notch care — and I'll vote for politicians who will ensure EVERY American has access to that treatment."