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Rush Limbaugh dead at 70

Rush Limbaugh, the radio host who revolutionized conservative talk radio and became the medium's biggest and most influential star, is dead at the age of 70.

Limbaugh's death was announced on his program by his wife, Kathryn Limbaugh. The Hill has reached out to "The Rush Limbaugh Show" for further comment.

His death comes a little more than a year after his announcement of a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer.

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"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 told his listeners last year.

Limbaugh's reign on talk radio spanned more than three decades and at its peak reached an audience of more than 15 million listeners. He was first syndicated in 1988.

He was a provocateur who became a hero to conservatives but deeply angered and offended others with his remarks on race, gender and a host of political issues. As news of his death spread, supporters offered their condolences to Limbaugh's family while pointing to the longtime host as a champion of the conservative movement.

“He was special...He was very brave. He was fighting to the very end. He’s a fighter," former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE, who awarded Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom last year, said during an interview Wednesday on Fox News. “Rush is irreplaceable, unique. He had an audience that was massive.”

Earlier that year, Trump had celebrated Limbaugh's signing of a long-term contract with Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of IHeartMedia.

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Asked about Limbaugh's death at an afternoon briefing, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMore than 700 migrant children in Border Patrol custody: report Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate MORE said she wasn't sure if the White House would release an official statement on his death but conveyed President BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE's condolences. 

“His condolences go out to the family and friends of Rush Limbaugh," Psaki said. 
 
Limbaugh had a host of imitators, and also inspired a number of other popular right-wing hosts. His influence ranges from the primetime hosts on Fox News, Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamTucker Carlson to produce video podcasts for Fox Nation Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 Laura Ingraham rips Trump impeachment lawyer: 'It was terrible' MORE and Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityCruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Tanden's odds plummet to lead OMB Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE, who both have radio shows, to such figures as Mark LevinMark Reed LevinTrump to appear on conservative networks in wake of Limbaugh's death Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration MORE and Ben Shapiro.
 
Glenn Beck, another host influenced by Limbaugh, thanked him for "all you taught, gave and were."
 

The fiery conservative host was a top Trump supporter and as recently as October hosted Trump for a two-hour interview.

“Because of people like you and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and so many others — your friends at 'Fox & Friends' in the morning — people are getting it," Trump told Limbaugh at the time.

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Limbaugh also influenced presidents, as did those who followed in his path — particularly during the Trump administration. Trump closely followed the programming of Fox News, and some of its hosts were known to offer him advice both on and off the air. 
 
As much as a slice of conservative America worshipped Limbaugh, much of liberal America saw a toxic force in U.S. life at the root of some of the problems during the Trump era and before. 

 "The most i’ll say about rush limbaugh is that he used his talents to make the world a worse place," wrote New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie on Twitter.

The left-leaning activist group Sleeping Giants, which has sought to put pressure on advertisers of conservative media, said Limbaugh was survived by other conservative hosts they said ray playbooks of baiting audiences with hateful rhetoric.

Updated at 2:13 p.m.