WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. — “Ladies and gentlemen, this … um … this day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today.”
With that, Rush Limbaugh — perhaps the most famous Talk radio host of the last 30 years — told his audience, and the world, that he has been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.”
Limbaugh noted it was a struggle for him to make the revelation, after first telling his staff earlier in the day Monday (2/3). He added that he can’t help but feel as if he’s letting everybody down with the announcement.
The diagnosis, Limbaugh said, was confirmed by two medical institutions, on January 20. He added that he first believed something was wrong on his birthday weekend of January 12.
“I thought about not telling anybody,” Limbaugh admitted. “I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me. But, there are days where I am not going to be able to be here.”
This served as notification that Limbaugh will be absent from his show on multiple occasions while he undergoes treatment for the cancer. He will be absent for the next few days, Limbaugh added, with a Thursday return expected.
As the “Mayor of Realville,” Limbaugh intends to host the program “as normally and as competently and as expertly” as he does every day, as often as he can.
The lung cancer disclosure comes 18 1/2 years after otolaryngologists Antonio De la Cruz and Jennifer Derebery discussed a diagnosis and treatment for hearing loss incurred by Limbaugh.
As of October 2001, Limbaugh suffered from autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), a disease that could include sudden hearing loss. He was able to regain much of his hearing with the help of a cochlear implant.
It then became known that he had become addicted to Vicodin, resulting in a five-week leave of absence from his daily radio program in order to enter a rehabilitation program. Severe back pain led Limbaugh to begin using the drug.
Limbaugh, who rose to fame in the mid-1980s at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, is an avid supporter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in a listener-driven telethon in support of blood cancer cures, research and treatment.