(The Center Square) – Rush Limbaugh Jr. began his career in 1967 as a high-schooler spinning afternoon records for a southeastern Missouri radio station his father owned and ended it nearly 65 years later broadcasting to 15 million weekly listeners on more than 600 radio stations nationwide from a studio in his beachfront home in Palm Beach, Fla.
From his native Missouri to his adopted Florida home state, the longtime radio show host was remembered for revolutionizing conservative talk radio and reshaping the Republican Party Wednesday as word of his death broke.
Limbaugh, 70, died after a battle with lung cancer, his wife, Kathryn, announced Wednesday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis in a Wednesday statement called Limbaugh “the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) — of radio, conservative media, and of inspiring a loyal army of American patriots.”
“Rush busted through a media landscape in which a handful of media outlets served up pre-cooked liberal narratives,” he said. “By providing a fresh, conservative perspective, Rush attracted millions of listeners and paved the way for the proliferation of conservative media.
“We don’t know who will succeed Rush as America’s anchorman,” DeSantis continued, “but we know no one will replace him.”
Born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Limbaugh in high school began working at the local station owned by his father, embarking on a radio career that would earn him the Presidential Freedom Metal from President Donald Trump in 2020.
In 1996, Limbaugh joined a migration of conservatives, such as Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge and former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, in moving to Palm Beach where he purchased a $40 million beachfront estate.
Palm Beach's most famous resident, former President Trump, Wednesday called into Fox News from Mar-A-Lago, less than 8 miles from Limbaugh’s home.
“He was a fantastic man,” Trump said. “People, whether they loved him or not, they respected him. They really did.”
In a later statement, Trump said: “Rush was a friend to myself and millions of Americans — a guiding light with the ability to see the truth and paint vivid pictures over the airwaves.”
“Rest In Peace, Rush Limbaugh,” Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said. “His legacy as a monumental figure in radio, iconic voice for conservatives and devoted advocate for the First Amendment will live on.”
“Rush was a giant,” tweeted U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, R-Ft. Walton Beach. “We will miss his clarity on the airwaves and the kindness he brought to those around him.”
The Republican Party of Florida lamented that with “Rush Limbaugh’s passing, Conservatives have lost a golden EIB Microphone.”
“A microphone dims for one of the Conservative Movement’s loudest voices,” Florida GOP Vice Chair Christian Ziegler said. “He was a true legend. Will never be forgotten.”
In Missouri, where Limbaugh in 2012 was inducted into the state’s Hall of Famous Missourians alongside Mark Twain, Walt Disney and Harry Truman, he was praised for defending Midwest values.
“A proud son of Missouri, Rush Limbaugh was a voice for the voiceless,” Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley said. “He changed talk radio, but more importantly, Rush changed the conversation to speak up for the forgotten, and challenge the establishment. He lived the First Amendment and told hard truths that made the elite uncomfortable, but made sure working men and women had a seat at the table.”
"From his first job in high school as a radio personality in Cape Girardeau to the EIB Network, Rush Limbaugh changed the way Americans talked about issues every day,” Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said. “He reshaped talk radio and became one of the most powerful conservative voices in our country, but always stayed grounded in his Missouri roots and Midwest values.”