Rush Limbaugh attends State of the Union address, receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night, where the president awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

First Lady Melania Trump was seen putting the highest civilian award around Limbaugh’s neck. He sat next to her during the speech when the president made the announcement. Limbaugh appeared to be surprised by the honor. 

The conservative radio legend told his millions of listeners Monday he was diagnosed with "advanced lung cancer" and would miss some shows in the coming days and weeks for treatment.

“Many people do not know what a great guy & fantastic political talent the great Rush Limbaugh is. There is nobody like him. Looking for a speedy recovery for our friend!,” Trump tweeted in support of the radio giant Monday evening.

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” the conservative media juggernaut said on his show. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me… one thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me.

“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you," Limbaugh, 69, told his radio listeners. "It’s a struggle for me, because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”

Limbaugh began the “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in 1988 and has since earned a variety of awards and honors. 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.

Limbaugh has been named to Forbes Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Celebrities in the United States list, received the William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for media excellence, won the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] in 2009 and was invited to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House by President George H. W. Bush.

He also was an honorary member of the House of Representatives Republican freshman class of 1995. contributed to this report.