Dan Calabrese, Cain’s longtime friend and editor of his website, announced the death on Thursday, July 30. Cain reportedly died in an Atlanta hospital. He was 74 years old.
“You’re never ready for the kind of news we are grappling with this morning. But we have no choice but to seek and find God’s strength and comfort to deal with it,” Calabrese wrote. “Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away.”
Cain tested positive for the novel coronavirus on June 29 and was hospitalized two days later, as reported by CNBC. It is unclear where he contracted the virus, but nine days before his diagnosis Cain was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend a rally to support U.S. President Donald Trump. He was photographed sitting closely to four other people. In the image, none wore masks.
As Calabrese noted in his blog post, Cain was considered a vulnerable person, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because of his history with cancer. In 2006, he was given a 30 percent chance of surviving stage-four colon cancer. Cain was declared cancer-free the following year. In a 2011 interview, he told CNN his cancer battle led him to run for president because he was inspired to do “something bigger and bolder.” Prior to entering politics, Cain was the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He also served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
At the time of his death, Calabrese wrote, Cain was slated to host a show for Newsmax TV and only got a chance to do one episode.
“He was so excited about it, and so pumped up about playing a role in the 2020 election campaign,” Calabrese wrote. “At an age when a lot of people are looking to slow down, he was taking on new projects, booking speaking opportunities.”
Trump has not spoken about Cain’s death but his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sent her condolences on Twitter.
“Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit,” she tweeted. “Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith.”
Morehouse College, Cain’s alma mater, also expressed condolences through president David A. Thomas. “The Morehouse College Community is deeply saddened over the passing of alumnus, Herman Cain,” said Thomas. “He was a philanthropist, a successful business executive, a political activist, a media personality, a caring father, and a son of Morehouse who graduated in 1967. Our hearts and prayers are with the Cain family.”
Cain is survived by his wife, two children and grandchildren.