Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, who single-handedly created the era of national political talk radio and had the most listened to program in U.S. history, died Wednesday of lung cancer a year after announcing his diagnosis with the disease. He was 70.
Limbaugh's wife, Kathryn, made the announcement on his radio show.
A cultural force with a cumulative weekly radio audience of more than 20 million at his peak, an author of seven books — two of which were New York Times best sellers, and the host of a nationally syndicated TV show, Limbaugh was hailed by Republicans and conservatives and derided by Democrats and liberals.
In 1994, his daily broadcasts trumpeting conservative politics and policies were credited with helping Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years as part of Newt Gingrich's "Republican Revolution." The party gained 54 seats in the House — the biggest change in nearly a half century — and Limbaugh was bestowed with an honorary membership by the incoming freshman congressional GOP caucus.