Conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh delivered an emotional message of gratitude opening his final show of the year on Wednesday, thanking his listeners and family for their support during his ongoing battle with lung cancer.
Limbaugh disclosed that according to the prognosis he received following his Stage IV diagnosis, he "wasn't expected to be alive today"— and shared what he has learned through the experience.
What are the details?
The host told his audience that he was "shocked" when he learned his fate in late January, revealing that he went through an initial period of denial but has experienced an overwhelming outpouring of support that has put him in a place of utter gratitude.
He reflected on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump in February, reminding his listeners that around that time he had shared that he gained "a little bit of understanding of something that had perplexed me for a lot of my life, and that was Lou Gehrig," the legendary professional baseball player whose ALS diagnosis cut short his record-breaking career in the 1930s.
"On the day that Lou Gehrig announced that he had his disease that was forcing him to retire from Major League Baseball, he said to the sold-out Yankee Stadium, 'Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.'
I didn't understand that. I mean, here's a guy who'd just been diagnosed with the most terminal of terminal diseases, and I said, 'This can't be real. He can't really think he's the luckiest guy in the world. This is just something that he's saying because it will play well.' I don't mean to be insulting Lou Gehrig; don't misunderstand. I'm just saying, how in the world if you're being honest can you feel like you're the luckiest man on the face of the earth?"
The radio giant said that now he understands, telling his listeners, "Well, when I got my diagnosis...I began to receive all of the outpouring of love and affection from everywhere in my life from so many of you in so many ways and from my family."
He added, "because I have outlived the diagnosis, I've been able to receive and hear and process some of the most wonderful, nice things about me that I might not have ever heard had I not gotten sick. Again think, how many people who pass away never hear the eulogies, never hear the thank-yous? I've been very lucky, folks, in I can't tell you how many ways."
Fox News pointed out that Rush Limbaugh's program, which began in 1988, is the most listened-to in the United States.
The outlet reported:
He's a five-time winner of the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for "Excellence in Syndicated and Network Broadcasting," a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He also was named one of Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People in 2008 and one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009.