One of the most high-profile conservative talk radio hosts in the United States has announced that his lung cancer is terminal.
Rush Limbaugh, 69, told listeners to the 600 radio stations nationwide that air his show that his cancer, announced in February, was not responding to treatment.
Lung scans showed “some progression of the cancer”, he said on Monday, after it was previously reduced to a manageable level.
“You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes,” said Limbaugh.
“And at some point you decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day.
“I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this.
“It’s tough to realise that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”
Limbaugh has been a crusading voice of conservatism since the 1990s, and last year attracted a cumulative weekly audience of 15.5 million listeners, making him the most listened-to host in the country.
His hard-line views on homosexuality, race, feminism and climate change have attracted him a cult following, as well as legions of detractors.
“We all know that we’re going to die at some point,” said Limbaugh on Monday.
“But when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.”
Limbaugh earlier this year explained that he had been diagnosed by two doctors after experiencing shortness of breath on his birthday, January 12. He said at the time that he would soon begin treatment.
Reactions to Monday’s announcement illustrated the divisive trail Limbaugh has blazed throughout his five decades on the air.
“I’ll say it again, Rush Limbaugh is a sexist, misogynistic, racist, hateful, bigoted conspiracy theorist trash bin with a repugnant radio programme who is by far the most undeserving Medal of Freedom recipient in US history,” wrote singer-songwriter Ricky Davila on Twitter.
“He gets no sympathy from me because he has cancer. Nope.”
Liberal writer Bob Geiger tweeted: “I am attempting to compose a thoughtful, sensitive tweet that wishes Rush Limbaugh well despite what a hideous, racist, bilious, hate-monger he is… I’ll let you know when I manage to do that.”
But others were more conciliatory.
“I can separate my political issues with Rush, which are deep and real, from my sadness that anyone and their family is going through cancer… it costs us nothing to have compassion,” said S.E. Cupp, a political commentator and television host.
“Even when they don’t. Be better.”