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Limbaugh, the popular and hugely divisive conservative radio star, died last month

By Jen Juneau
March 03, 2021 05:17 PM
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Rush Limbaugh's widow, Kathryn, this week recalled his funeral as "absolutely stunning," after first talking about the event's details with him before his death last month from lung cancer.

On Tuesday's episode of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Kathryn, 44, spoke with Todd Herman about how her controversial-yet-wildly-popular husband was buried on Feb. 24 in his home state of Missouri "at a wonderful cemetery called Bellefontaine" in St. Louis.

The event, which Kathryn described as having taken place on "an absolutely gorgeous day," was attended by "an extremely limited number of immediate family" given the COVID-19 pandemic, but "was very worthy of" her husband.

"We concentrated a lot on tradition and ceremony at every turn," she said. "From the moment that he left the house here in Palm Beach, there was a procession escorting Rush to the transport plane that would take him to St. Louis, and then when we arrived in St. Louis, there was a procession leading to the cemetery. So he was never left alone in any aspect of this."

"And then once we got to the cemetery, there was a horse-drawn carriage waiting for him, and it was simply stunning," she went on. "You could hear the clacking of the horse hooves as we walked through the cemetery following behind Rush. You could hear the singing of the birds."

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Rush Limbaugh, Kathryn Adams Limbaugh
Kathryn and Rush Limbaugh
| Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Referring to the event as "very peaceful" and "beautiful," Kathryn said, "We followed behind the horse-drawn carriage until we reached the chapel."

She added, "We had a small service in the chapel, which is located in the cemetery. Rush was escorted into the chapel to his favorite version of the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.' "

The funeral "couldn't have been more fitting" for her late husband, Kathryn said, recalling "powerful American flags waving in the wind" and sunlight "shining directly on" his gravesite as they approached it.

"We prayed around Rush and we also played some of his favorite music, such as 'America the Beautiful' by Ray Charles and also a musical version of the Irish blessing, which we knew Rush loved," Kathryn said. "So it was absolutely stunning with a beautiful oak tree overhead, the sun shining directly on Rush. Very patriotic and very worthy of him."

Rush — whose popularity as a right-wing radio host was inextricable from his long history of provocation and insult and who, for decades, spoke daily to an audience of tens of millions of Americans — died last month at age 70 of complications from with lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with a year prior.

The talk-radio titan profited greatly over the years from his controversial career, making hundreds of millions of dollars from the show and its offshoots, according to Vanity Fair.

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh in 2018
| Credit: JIM WATSON/Getty Images

A pioneering say-anything radio host, Rush made numerous inflammatory comments over the years: mocking former President Barack Obama as "Barack the Magic Negro"; relishing the deaths of AIDS victims; and savaging women's activism, including calling a college student advocating for contraception a "slut."

Over the years, he also apologized for some of these remarks but steadfastly stood by others, and his audience remained loyal to his point of view on the issues of the day.

"His approach to politics was to speak to one side, but it was a side that was very eager to hear that kind of broadcasting," Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University, previously told PEOPLE. "Whether you like him or not, his impact was certainly pretty profound in that he popularized talking about politics in a way that many more Americans could access."

"I, like you, very much wish Rush was behind this golden microphone right now, welcoming you to another exceptional three hours of broadcasting," she said. "For over 32 years, Rush has cherished you, his loyal audience, and always looked forward to every single show."

"As so many of you know, losing a loved one is terribly difficult — even more so when that loved one is larger than life," she continued.