Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
Limbaugh told his audience this week that he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and would be forced to miss work.
“He is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet,” Trump said on Tuesday night in reference to the cancer diagnosis in a move that received applause from the mainly GOP members in the Capitol building. Limbaugh, who was seated in a wheelchair, then rose from his seat before First Lady Melania Trump presented him with the medal.
Trump presented the medal to Limbaugh, 69, “… in recognition for all that you have done for our nation … to millions of people a day, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity.”
Earlier this week, Limbaugh said on the air: “This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming.”
He added: “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.”
According to Limbaugh, he started experiencing shortness of breath on Jan. 12 before doctors diagnosed him.
“So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about. But I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I’ve been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks. “I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms,” he remarked.
Limbaugh started his nationally syndicated radio show 30 years ago and is considered one of the most influential conservative pundits in the U.S.