President Donald Trump’s aide and former presidential candidate Herman Cain has succumbed to COVID-19 days after saying face masks were not mandatory.
Cain, 74, succumbed to the disease on Thursday, July 30, at a hospital in Atlanta where he was undergoing medication after being diagnosed with the disease a month ago.
His death was announced Thursday on his website, Newsmax TV and social media accounts where he was set to launch a weekly show. Early this month, he said he had been hospitalized in the Atlanta area.
“Cain, who recently joined Newsmax TV and was set to launch a weekly show, died in an Atlanta-area hospital where he had been critically ill for several weeks,” the conservative website Newsmax reported.
Mr. Cain tested positive for the virus on June 29, and went to the hospital two days later.
“We knew when he was first hospitalized with Covid-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of Mr. Cain’s website, said in the post announcing his death. “He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.”
“Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years, he was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer,” Mr. Calabrese noted.
The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza was admitted on July 1, two days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
As a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, Cain was one of the surrogates at President Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
At least eight Trump advance team staffers who attended the Oklahoma rally tested positive for coronavirus.
Before heading for the rally, which was highly criticised by health officials, Cain praised South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for not requiring face masks at the campaign rally.
“Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. People are fed up,!” Cain Tweeted in a photo where he was not wearing face mask.
In a video posted to his website after the president’s rally, Mr. Cain said he had worn a mask while in groups of people. But he also posted photographs of himself on social media that showed him without a mask and surrounded by people in the arena.
Cain’s death came at a time when confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US stand at 4,588,051 with 154,360 deaths and 2,246,910 recoveries.
One of his first brushes with national fame came in 1994, when he challenged President Bill Clinton on his health care legislation during a televised town-hall-style meeting.
From 1996, when he left the pizza company, until 1999, Mr. Cain ran the National Restaurant Association, a once-sleepy trade group that he helped transform into a lobbying powerhouse.
In a 2011 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Mr. Cain said he became a Republican after a Black man at a restaurant yelled out: “Black Republicans? There’s no such thing.”
Cain was considered at an increased risk for coronavirus due to his age and history with cancer, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
In 2006, Cain was given a 30% chance of survival from stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver. He underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancer from his liver and was declared cancer free in 2007.