Author, constitutional legal analyst, and conservative talk radio voice Mark Levin responded to colleague Rush Limbaugh’s death on Wednesday, characterizing him as a once-in-a-lifetime personality who will never be rivaled.
“This is a tremendously sad day for those who live this country and don’t believe in its fundamental transformation,” Levin said as he called into Fox News following news that Limbaugh, 70, who waged a year-long battle with stage IV lung cancer, had passed away.
“It’s a tremendously sad day for those who salute the flag and embrace the military and law enforcement,” Levin continued.
Mark Levin, calling into Fox News, on Rush Limbaugh's death: "It's a tremendously sad day… we’ve lost a voice like no other.” pic.twitter.com/w1DvrMIqI7
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) February 17, 2021
“It’s a tremendously sad day because we’ve lost Thomas Paine,” the host continued, referencing the English colonist whose pamphlets “Common Sense” and “The American Crisis” were among the most influential at the outset of the Revolutionary War. “We’ve lost a voice like no other and there will never be again.”
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced his passing on his radio show. “Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” she said. “Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”
Levin went on to say that at present, Limbaugh’s voice was needed more than ever.
“When you see what’s happening to the country and you see a thousand different ways in which we’re going in the wrong direction…he fought to the bitter end,” Levin said. “He fought and he fought…even when he was getting his treatments he wanted to get on radio, he wanted to talk to his audience, who in addition to his blood-and-flesh family was his family.
Shortly after he announced his diagnosis on his program about a year ago, Limbaugh was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address.
“Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” the former president said at the time.
Limbaugh, during his final broadcast of 2020, told listeners he wasn’t expected to live that long.
“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said. “I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.”
Limbaugh, born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Jan. 12, 1951, began his radio career in 1967 as a “helper” when he was only 16 years old. He eventually graduated to disk jockey and worked at a small station roughly 100 miles south of St. Louis while attending high school.
“I was totally consumed,” Limbaugh told the New York Times in 1990, noting that his idol was a Chicago radio host named Larry Lujack. By 1971, Limbaugh was a morning radio host in Pittsburgh, where he was oddly told to cover a certain amount of “farm news” because the area was surrounded by many agriculture communities. In 2007 he explained to listeners how the young radio host managed to keep listeners despite the bizarre requirement.
Limbaugh had an up-and-down career, landing a job as an executive with the Kansas City Royals for a few years before jumping back into radio. He made it big following a 1987 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to lift the “Fairness Doctrine” which required radio stations airing political commentary to allow both sides equal time.