ATLANTA — Former presidential candidate and WSB Radio host Herman Cain has died after a battle with COVID-19, officials said Thursday.
The Georgia politician and businessman had been hospitalized in metro Atlanta since testing positive for the virus in July. He was 74.
Earlier this week, Cain’s staff had tweeted that he was still recovering and remained on oxygen.
"We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight," a spokesperson said on his website. "He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle."
Officials said Cain was in the high-risk category because of his diagnosis of cancer in 2006.
Officials said they were not sure how Cain contracted the virus. One of his last public appearances was when he attended President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20 as a campaign surrogate.
Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted about Cain’s death, saying Cain “was an unwavering patriot, a conservative stalwart & a deeply wise, thoughtful man who lived the American Dream. He was truly one of a kind & his loss is devastating to many, including our family. Please pray for his loved ones, friends & colleagues.”
Sen. David Perdue also issued a statement on Cain’s death, saying:
“Bonnie and I are devastated to learn of the passing of one of our closest friends, Herman Cain. Guided by faith, Herman grew up humbly and went on to become an accomplished business leader. He lived the American dream and aspired to share his success with others. Herman’s love for our country was unmatched, and he will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with Gloria and their family, and all of Herman’s friends and staff, as they mourn this huge loss.”
Cain was the host of “The Herman Cain Show” at HermanCain.com and “Herman Cain’s America” on NewsmaxTV.
Cain left his show on WSB News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB in 2018 but continued to appear on the stations doing daily commentary.
Cain was born in Memphis but grew up in Georgia. He was the son of a domestic worker, and a janitor and barber.
He would later attend Morehouse College here in Atlanta where he pursued a master’s degree in computer science and became a civilian employee of the Navy.
Cain eventually landed a job with Coca-Cola and spent years working his way up the corporate ladder.
During the 1980s, Cain was a successful business executive at Burger King, which prompted Pillsbury to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a role he held from 1986 to 1996.
Cain went on to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch from 1989 to 1991 before entering politics.
He served as a senior economic adviser to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 and was a contender for the Republican presidential nominee in the 2012 election.
During his time with WSB Radio, Cain became a popular name across the country with his Conservative radio talk show.
“If he wanted to try it, he did it and he almost always succeeded at it,” said WSB Radio’s Ashley Frasca, who worked on Cain’s radio show as well as on his presidential campaign. “It was a whirlwind for the nine months that I worked on that campaign. It was such a unique experience, and we were not prepared for the overnight success that he got coming out of that Iowa straw poll.”
Cain dropped out of the race and went back into radio, but he stayed relevant as an author, minister, speaker and advisor.
"This is definitely a shock to all of us here at WSB and it's going to be a very difficult few days," Frasca said.
Cain leaves behind a wife, two children and several grandchildren.
© 2020 Cox Media Group