SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Rush Limbaugh told his national audience Monday he is battling advanced lung cancer.
“I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing because I don’t like making things about me,” Limbaugh said. “But there are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or I’m reacting to treatment.”
Limbaugh rose to prominence in the 1980s, hosting a talk show on Sacramento’s KFBK.
“And he has a lot of resiliency,” said KFBK news anchor Kitty O’Neal.
O’Neal worked alongside him in those days and the two of them still keep in touch.
“I don’t agree with Rush on everything to be sure but he doesn’t choose his friends by their political party. He chooses them for what kind of people they are and hopefully, that’s reciprocated,” she told FOX40. “That people understand that Rush has a lot of colors to him and he’s very warm, funny, generous. Yes, we argue on things but he’s always been a steady friend.”
O’Neal said news of Limbaugh’s diagnosis impacts her as both a broadcaster and a friend.
“I’ve reached out to him and just want to see what it really means to him personally. So, I’ll wait and see,” O’Neal said.
She said she hopes people will put politics aside when thinking about Limbaugh’s latest challenge.
“I understand that Rush is a very polarizing character and that’s the nature of what he does,” she said. “But I think when you find out that somebody is facing something that could be potentially life-threatening, you need to tap into your humanity and hope for the best. And I know people who listen to him will do that but I hope everybody does.”
Limbaugh said he knew something was wrong in mid-January and had his diagnosis confirmed with multiple doctors.
The radio host vows to fight the disease and keep working when he’s able.
That doesn’t surprise O’Neal at all.
“I think he’ll just carry on, I don’t think he’ll back out. I think he loves what he does, so I think he’ll continue to fight on,” she said. “That would be my guess from what I know of him. I think he’ll soldier on.”