Herman Cain, a former president who was once considered by President Donald Trump for the Federal Reserve, has died after being admitted to the hospital with coronavirus. He was 74 years old.
Cain’s death was announced Thursday on his website by Dan Calabrese, who edits the site and had previously written about his colleague’s diagnosis.
“Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to most of us – passed away,” Calabrese said in a blog post. “We all prayed so hard every day. We knew the time would come when the Lord would call him home, but we really enjoyed having him here with us, and we kept the hope that he would have a full recovery.”;
Cain was among the highest public figures in the United States who died from Covid-19. Less than two weeks before receiving his diagnosis, Cain had attended the Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Cain was a business executive and chairman of the branch board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City before moving into Republican politics and eventually became a presidential candidate.
Last year, Trump considered hiring Cain as his candidate to join the Federal Reserve Board. Cain remained a vocal supporter of Trump after his nomination was withdrawn.
Cain was admitted to hospital in Atlanta on July 1, two days after he said it was a positive test for Covid-19, according to a statement posted on his social media accounts at the time.
He did not need a respirator and was “awake and alert” when he was hospitalized, the statement said. “Please join us in praying for Mr. Kajin, and for everyone who contracted the coronavirus – as well as for their families,” he said.
Cain tweeted a photo of himself during the Trump rally showing him surrounded by other participants, none of whom appeared to be wearing masks or other protective gear.
The Trump campaign said all those who attended the event had their temperatures controlled upon entry, and that masks and a hand sanitizer were provided but not required to be used. The campaign revealed before the event that six team members involved in the rally preparations had tested positive for the virus and had been quarantined.
The July 2 statement about Cain’s hospital said, “There is no way to know for sure how or where Mr. Cain contracted the coronavirus.” Trump’s campaign said after Cain’s diagnosis that he did not meet with the president at the Tulsa rally.
Cain, the former CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza restaurant chain, was no stranger to politics.
He became an actor in Republican politics as an economic adviser to Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign before launching his own bid in 2000.
In the 2012 GOP presidential primary season, Cain gained major cut media coverage with his “9-9-9” economic plan paired to replace much of the federal tax code with a transaction tax. 9% business, 9% personal income tax and 9%% tax. Critics called the plan “questionable” and impractical.
Cain suspended that campaign in December 2011 following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, dating back to his time as chief executive of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Cain denied the allegations.
Cain’s social media accounts sometimes provided vague updates about his condition. A message on July 5 said it was “making progress” and that “more encouraging news” was expected to come out soon. Two days later, Cain’s Twitter account said that “doctors are trying to make sure his oxygen levels are good.”
On July 10, another tweet said Cain himself described his status as “cruise control,” because “progress is slow but his breathing is strengthening every day. Make no mistake: He’s getting better! “
The most recent update came on Monday, when Cain’s social media revealed that he was being “treated with oxygen for his lungs” almost a month after he was admitted to hospital. “He’s really getting better, and that means he’s working,” the update said.
Calabrese has repeatedly declined CNBC’s requests for additional information about Cain’s condition during his fight with the virus.
“We’re not saying anything beyond what we could on social media,” Calabrese said in a July 7 email. “That’s Herman and Gloria’s wish and so I appreciate respecting her.”
In addition to his wife Gloria Etchison, survivors include his two sons, Melanie and Vincent, Calabrese said.
This is ugly news. Please check back for updates.