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West Palm Beach — Rush Limbaugh, who deployed comic bombast and relentless bashing of liberals, feminists, and environmentalists to become the nation’s most popular radio talk-show host and lead the Republican Party into a politics of anger and obstruction, died February 17th at the age 86 1/2.

Limbaugh’s death Wednesday morning was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the start of his radio program.

In February 2020, Mr. Limbaugh, a cigar aficionado who long defended tobacco use, told his audience that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. One night later, then-President Donald Trump broke with tradition and bestowed on him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during the State of the Union address.

When I received this diagnosis, and I was shocked, I was stunned, and I was in denial for about a week,” he said on his show in December. “I wasn’t expected to make it to October and then to November and then to December — and yet here I am. Today, I’ve got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today. God’s with me today. God knows how important this program is to me.”

Over the years Limbaugh has made numerous inflammatory comments that are racist, calling former President Barack Obama in a parody song “Barack the Magic Negro”; homophobic (“When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation” ); and misogynistic (“Feminism was established as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society”).

In January, he falsely and repeatedly said on his show the day after the inauguration that President Joe Biden did not win the election — this after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and five people died. Democrats, Limbaugh falsely said, “know that this is something that’s been arranged rather than legitimately sought and won.”

Limbaugh, a Missouri native, college dropout, and an avid progressive rock fan became a rock ‘n’ roll radio DJ and sports radio host before rising to national attention in the late 1980s with a syndicated conservative talk show on AM radio.

His family says he will be cremated with his trusty Rickenbacker bass guitar.

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