Trump Pays Tribute to Limbaugh as ‘Defender of Liberty’ and ‘A Guiding Light’ to America

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday remembered conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh as a “defender of Liberty” and “a guiding light” to the United States.

“The great Rush Limbaugh has passed away to a better place, free from physical pain and hostility,” Trump said in a statement. “His honor, courage, strength, and loyalty will never be replaced.”

Trump described Limbaugh, who died at the age of 70, as “a patriot, a defender of Liberty, and someone who believed in all of the greatness our Country stands for.”

Limbaugh’s death was announced by his wife, Kathryn Adams Limbaugh, on Wednesday morning. She told listeners at the beginning of Limbaugh’s radio show that he had been battling stage 4 lung cancer while continuing to broadcast his radio show.

He passed away at his Palm Beach, Florida home, his wife said, hours after his death.

Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis in February last year—a day before he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during then-President Trump’s State of the Union address. He said he started experiencing shortness of breath on Jan. 12, 2020, before he was diagnosed by doctors.

“Rush was a friend to myself and millions of Americans—a guiding light with the ability to see the truth and paint vivid pictures over the airwaves,” Trump said in his statement. “Melania and I express our deepest condolences to his wonderful wife, Kathryn, his family, and all of his dedicated fans. He will be missed greatly.”

The former president also broke his media silence following Limbaugh’s death, speaking to Fox News of the relationship the pair had and Limbaugh’s legacy.

“He would just talk for two hours and three hours. Just talk,” Trump told Fox News in his first media remarks since he left office on Jan. 20. “And that’s not an easy thing to do.”

“People, whether they loved him or not, they respected him,” the former president added, describing Limbaugh as a “very brave guy” and a “friend.”

Trump said the former radio host was “with me right from the beginning.”

“It was a great honor to do so when we gave the Medal of Freedom. It was something special. It was an incredible night. We gave it during the State of the Union address, and it was especially—half the room, half the room went crazy, and the other half the room, they knew he should get it, but it was special, and he was special,” Trump added.

Limbaugh was born in 1951 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After leaving college, he entered radio in 1971 before founding his own radio show.

Speaking of his diagnosis in October last year, Limbaugh said that he was grateful to have been able to continue his work despite the physical toll it took on him.