The passing of broadcasting legend Rush Limbaugh hit close to home for “Hannity” host Sean Hannity, who honored the talk radio icon’s memory during Wednesday night’s opening monologue.
“He was an innovator. He was a pioneer. He was a trailblazer. He was a great patriot,” he said. “He fought every single day to make this country a more perfect union and a better place.”
“Over five decades, it was his words, his principles, his ideals, his spirit — it shaped the soul of a nation.”
Hannity explained that Limbaugh “truly believed” in the greatness of America and the principles of the Constitution, describing him as an “unyielding champion” of freedom for all.
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“It wasn’t just [if you were] a conservative or a Republican. His love for country and the people who live here was boundless,” he said. “And by the way, he never wanted to cancel anybody, ever.”
Hannity credited Limbaugh with “single-handedly” revolutionizing talk radio and saving both AM and FM bands.
When Limbaugh’s show debuted in 1988, Hannity said there was universal doubt that a daytime talk show would be successful. Now, talk radio is the largest format on the medium.
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“He also paved the way even for this network, Fox News,” he said. “And even opinion shows on left-wing networks, not that they’d ever acknowledge it.”
“Whenever Rush spoke, tens and tens of millions of Americans listened,” Hannity went on. “He had an amazing unapologetic presence, was always authentic. A true original.”
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Following Limbaugh’s cancer diagnosis last year, Hannity said the longtime host’s one “bucket list” item was to be with his listeners and “do what he was born to do.”
“And he did.”