Herman Cain dies after COVID-19 battle

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ATLANTA — Herman Cain, a 2012 presidential candidate, has died at an Atlanta-area hospital after battling the coronavirus, according to a statement posted on his official Twitter account Thursday. He was 74.

Cain had been hospitalized at the beginning of July for COVID-19. Cain was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The former pizza company executive was an outspoken backer of the president and was a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. At least eight Trump advance team staffers who attended the rally also tested positive for coronavirus.

Trump faced criticism for holding the event despite warnings from public health experts that it is not yet safe to hold mass gatherings. More than 6,000 people attended the rally in an arena that can seat more than 19,000.

Cain briefly rose to the top of polls during the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination by highlighting a plan to simplify the tax code with what he called the 9-9-9 plan. On the campaign trail, he spoke about being diagnosed in 2006 with stage 4 liver cancer and his doctors giving him slim hope for long-term survival.

More recently, he has kept involved in conservative politics as a commentator on Newsmax.

Dan Calabrese, editor of HermanCain.com, posted the obituary on Cain’s Twitter and website, saying in part:

Let me deal with some of the particulars of the last few weeks. We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight. 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.

We didn’t release detailed updates on his condition to the public or to the media because neither his family nor we thought there was any reason for that. There were hopeful indicators, including a mere five days ago when doctors told us they thought he would eventually recover, although it wouldn’t be quick. We were relieved to be told that, and passed on the news via Herman’s social media. And yet we also felt real concern about the fact that he never quite seemed to get to the point where the doctors could advance him to the recovery phase.

Dan Calabrese

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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