Politicians, pundits and celebrities shared memories of Limbaugh on Wednesday following his wife’s announcement that the radio host had died after being diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer about a year ago.
“I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of Rush Limbaugh,” Netanyahu, a friend of former President Trump, said in the tweet. “He was a great friend of Israel and he stood by us through thick and thin, always firm, never wavering. We shall miss him dearly.”
Limbaugh was a staunch supporter of Israel, much like his friend, the former president, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and helped secure peace deals between Israel and a number of Middle Eastern countries during his presidency.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an international Jewish news website, announced the news of the radio host’s death Thursday, saying his views “sharply divided American Jews.”
Zev Chafets, a Jewish biographer who wrote the 2010 book “An Army of One” covering Limbaugh’s life and career, said the media personality was “very cautious about not saying anything disparaging American Jews as a collective ever” in a Wednesday interview with the Agency.
“It was very important considering the possibilities of anti-Semitism on the right that the biggest and most powerful voice in that community over 30 years was very clearly anything but an anti-Semite,” Chafets said.
The radio host is considered one of the most influential media figures in American history and has played a consequential role in conservative politics since “The Rush Limbaugh Show” began in 1988. Perched behind his Golden EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) Microphone, Limbaugh spent over three decades as arguably both the most beloved and polarizing person in American media.
The program that began 33 years ago on national syndication with only 56 radio stations grew to be the most listened-to radio show in the United States, airing on more than 600 stations, according to the show’s website. Up to 27 million people tuned in on a weekly basis and Limbaugh has lovingly referred to his passionate fan base as “Dittoheads,” as they would often say “ditto” when agreeing with the iconic radio host.
In his final radio broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners and supporters, revealing at the time that he had outlived his prognosis.
“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.”