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Influential radio host Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer.
AMBER STRONG: Influential radio host Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer. The 70-year-old was a pioneer for his brand of conservative talk radio and a polarizing force in American politics.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: We you make the complex understandable and we do it in a way that makes you love your country, not hate it.
AMBER STRONG: The former local disk jockey made the switch to politics and hit syndication with the "Rush Limbaugh Show" in 1988, reeling in some 15 million weekly listeners and commanding the attention of Republican voters and elected leaders alike.
MIKE PENCE: In many ways, the Republican majority owes much of its continued success to the talk radio that Rush Limbaugh reinvented.
AMBER STRONG: That included President Trump, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom and spoke fondly of his friend Wednesday.
DONALD TRUMP: Half the room went crazy and the other half of the room, they knew-- they knew he should get it. But it was special and he was special.
AMBER STRONG: But controversial comments made over his decades-long career made him unpopular in some circles. He pushed racist ideologies, like the birther movement against former President Obama, and accused actor Michael J Fox of exaggerating Parkinson's Disease symptoms.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act.
AMBER STRONG: Most recently, he helped fuel debunked theories about the 2020 election results. In December, he reflected on his career and family and thanked his listeners for their support.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I understand now what Lou Gehrig meant. Because I certainly feel like that. I feel extremely fortunate and lucky.
AMBER STRONG: Amber Strong, Newsy.