Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dead at age 70

The controversial talk show host had a history of derogatory comments about marginalized communities that turned him into a polarizing figure. He announced in early 2020 he had lung cancer.
2:47 | 02/18/21

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Transcript for Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh dead at age 70
Thank you. We continue with the news this evening and to news of the passing of conservative radio host rush Limbaugh. A champion to conservatives, though he did not get through without lots of coronavirus throughout many years. Here's ABC's Jonathan Karl. Here we are in New York City, it's the rush limb baup radio program. Reporter: As wildly successful and influential as he was divisive and controversial, rush Limbaugh was the godfather of the offend anyone, apologize to no one politics that got Donald Trump elected president. Limbaugh had been suffering from lung cancer. His wife announced his death at the start of his radio show today. I like you very much wish rush was behind this golden microphone right now. Reporter: Limbaugh basically invented modern right-wing talk radio, spawning an army of bombastic imitators. He boasted of fighting liberals with half his brain tied behind his back and built a massive audience, 20 million at the peak of his popularity. He derided feminists as feminazis, when law student Sandra fluke testified that health care coverage should include contraception, Limbaugh's attack on her was as savage as it was sexist. She must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. Reporter: He said NFL quarterback Donovan Mcnabb was overrated because he was black. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. Reporter: And when Barack Obama became a national political figure, Limbaugh promoted the racist birther myth. In 2001, he almost entirely lost his hearing, but he learned how to read lips and had special implants placed in his head allowing him to hear again. A couple years later, Limbaugh acknowledged he was addicted to painkillers. I am addicted to prescription pain medication. Reporter: Limbaugh was no fan of Donald Trump in 2016, saying he wasn't a true conservative, even after he eventually endorsed him. Can somebody point to me the conservative on the ballot? "What do you mean, rush? Are you admitting trump is not a conservative?" Damn right I am! Folks, when did I ever say that he was? Reporter: But Limbaugh became a staunch trump supporter and last year trump game have the presidential medal of freedom, awarding it during his state of the union address. Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country. Reporter: Like Limbaugh himself, news of his death divided the political world. Donald Trump remembered him as a patriot, a defender of liberty and a guiding light. Over at the white house, Joe Biden issued no statement at all. His press secretary, David, simply offering condolences to the Limbaugh family. All right, Jon Karl, our chief Washington correspondent. Jon, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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