Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer, was a "visionary and the voice of a generation," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement.
Limbaugh, 70, had the most listened to program in U.S. history. He announced his diagnosis last year.
"In 1988, Rush was the first nationally syndicated radio show on AM," McCarthy said. "For three hours each day for 33 years, he guided millions of eager listeners across the country with common sense, humor, and verve.
"His themes were freedom, patriotism, and the basic decency of the American people, the type of people that Washington, D.C. is supposed to listen to but often ignores or forgets. This plainspoken, profound understanding of America is why his show spoke up for millions of people, reached millions more, but never spoke down to anyone."
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 The 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.
He was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the 2020 State of the Union Address by President Donald Trump, in which he thanked Limbaugh for "decades of tireless devotion to our country."
His legacies go "beyond a conservative icon," McCarthy said.
"Rush exemplified this greatness on and off the airwaves and inspired all of us to embrace it."
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