Herman Cain, the businessman and political activist who made a splash in Republican politics as a 2012 presidential candidate, died on Thursday at the age of 74.
Cain was diagnosed with coronavirus in late June and was hospitalized earlier this month in Atlanta when his condition worsened.
“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,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of Herman Cain’s website, wrote in a statement. “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.”
The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza emerged on the political scene in 2011 as a longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Against a field of more established politicians, Cain ascended and was briefly a frontrunner for the GOP nomination. His White House bid fizzled amid allegations of inappropriate behavior during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association.
More recently, Cain served as a surrogate for President Donald Trump and was a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. Cain attended Trump’s Tulsa, Okla., rally in June, two weeks before his diagnosis with Covid-19.
In April 2019, Trump publicly considered nominating Cain to a seat on the Federal Reserve, a move that was met with skepticism among Republicans in the Senate. The president later relented, writing on Twitter that Cain had asked not to be nominated.