Rush Limbaugh, the controversial American radio personality and conservative media icon, is dead.

He was 70.

His wife Kathryn Adams announced his death on his radio show on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” she said. “Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”

“I know I am most certainly not the Limbaugh that you tuned in to listen to today,” she noted, adding that her husband died of lung cancer.

Mr Limbaugh, last February, had announced that had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, but he nonetheless continued to host his show while undergoing treatment.

Best-known for pioneering “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” which aired for 32 years on AM talk-radio and drew millions of loyal listeners, Mr Limbaugh promoted conservative ideologies as he relentlessly attacked liberals, democrats, feminists, environmentalists.

Influential and at the same time controversial, Mr Limbaugh would sometimes use his talk-radio show, which had hosted three former presidents of the United States, to advance racist, sexist and homophobic views.

At other times, he peddled conspiracy theories, opposed immigration, gave hateful speeches on gender, race and climate change.

He was a full-throated supporter of former President Donald Trump, who bestowed Limbaugh with the Medal of Freedom, the US’ highest honour for civilians.

On the other hand, he was a hard-biting critic of former President Barack Obama, including discrediting the presidency of Mr Obama on the basis of him being born outside the United States.

Born in Missouri on January 12, 1951, at 16, Mr Limbaugh enrolled in a summer course on radio engineering and earned a broadcaster’s license.

He had a short stint in radio at a local station when he was in high school. After graduating in 1969, he started at Southeast Missouri State University, but dropped out after two semesters and took his first job at a music radio station in Pennsylvania, as against his father’s wish.

The outspoken conservative had his first breakthrough in 1987. By 1988 his show became nationally syndicated, broadcasting live on hundreds of radio stations across the US.

As of 2020, it attracted around 27 million listeners weekly.

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