Conservative talk show legend Rush Limbaugh informed listeners towards the end of his program Monday that he has advanced stage lung cancer and isn’t sure how much he will be available over the coming days and weeks as he begins treatment.
“I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you,” Limbaugh, 69, said after reminding listeners that he’s been on the air doing his program for 31 years.
“It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t escape… Even though people are telling me it’s not the way to look at it, I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down with this,” he continued. “But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.”
“I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, ’cause I don’t like making things about me,” Limbaugh continued.
“But there are going to be days that I’m not gonna be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what’s going on,” he added.
The host said that he was in consultation with a team of physicians and will find out over the next few days what his course of treatment will be.
“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,” he added, noting that he has a “deep relationship with God” that he never speaks about publicly.
Limbaugh said he began to believe something was wrong last month that, initially, he believed might be heart-related after becoming short of breath more frequently.
“What led to shortness of breath that I thought might have been asthma or — you know, I’m 69 — it could have been my heart. My heart’s in great shape, ticking away fine, squeezing and pumping great. It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy,” he said.
Limbaugh noted that despite his upcoming treatment regimen, he would still attempt to be on the air as often as possible.
“Over the years, a lot of people have been very nice telling me how much this program has meant to them. But whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me. And I can’t describe this. But I know you’re there every day. I can see you. It’s strange how, but I know you’re there,” Limbaugh said.