Herman Cain dies at 74 after battling COVID-19: 'He has gone to be with the Lord'

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. January 19, 2012.
Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. January 19, 2012. | The Christian Post/Paul Stanley

Herman Cain has died at 74 after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. 

Cain’s death was announced Thursday on his website by editor Dan Calabrese who said the conservative businessman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate had “gone to be with the Lord.”

“Herman Cain — our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us — has passed away,” Calabrese said in the 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 liked having him here with us, and we held out hope he’d have a full recovery.”

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Survivors include his wife, Gloria Etchison, and his two children, Melanie and Vincent, Calabrese said.

Cain’s death was also confirmed on his official Twitter account. 

“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,” the tweet reads.

Cain, who was co-chair of Black Voices for Trump and survivor of stage 4 colon cancer, announced his COVID-19 infection on July 2, just over a week after attending a rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

According to a statement posted to his social media accounts at the time, he did not require a respirator and was “awake and alert” when he checked in to the hospital.

“Please join with us in praying for Mr. Cain, and for everyone who has contracted the coronavirus — as well as their families,” it said.

Cain’s social media accounts occasionally provided updates on his condition. A message on July 5 said he was “making progress” and that “more encouraging news” was expected to come soon. On July 10, another tweet said Cain himself described his status as “cruise control,” because “the progress is slow but his breathing is getting stronger every day. Make no mistake: He is improving!”

“This is a tough virus, but we serve a tougher God. Herman wants to get back in action soon, so please continue praying,” another tweet said. 

Before moving into Republican politics and eventually becoming a presidential candidate, Cain had been a business executive and board chairman of a branch of Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank. Last year, Trump briefly considered picking Cain as his nominee to join the Federal Reserve Board.

Throughout his career, Cain was open about his Christian faith and how it defined his life. 

"Faith has been a big part of my life, all of my life. I joined the Baptist Church at the age of 10. It's the same church my parents joined in the mid-1940s,” he said, according to Deseret News.

"Our parents took us to church," he said. "They were involved in the church. We got involved in the church. As I got older, my faith grew. … You have to develop your own level of faith as you get older. It has always been a big part of my life."

Cain said his faith "was really tested in 2006 when I was diagnosed with stage-four cancer, but my faith helped me get through that experience. It has always been a big part of our lives and it always will. It shapes my values."

Several high-profile figures mourned Cain's death on social media.

“Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “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.”

Fox News correspondent Sara Carter tweeted, "I’m going to really miss him. Praying for his family in their time of sorrow. He was a great American."

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