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Herman Cain, Former GOP Presidential Candidate, Dies From COVID-19

Herman Cain, then a GOP presidential candidate, holds a muffin bearing his catchphrase "9-9-9" tax plan at the National Press Club in Washington in 2011. Cain's death was announced Thursday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
AP
Herman Cain, then a GOP presidential candidate, holds a muffin bearing his catchphrase "9-9-9" tax plan at the National Press Club in Washington in 2011. Cain's death was announced Thursday.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Former Republican presidential candidate and pizza magnate Herman Cain has died from the coronavirus.

Cain, 74, had been hospitalized since early July after he began having trouble breathing.

"Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away," aides announced on Cain's website Thursday.

Employees of Cain said they do not know where he contracted the coronavirus. He attended President Trump's indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., in late June and was photographed in the arena without a mask.

Pizza baron

The African American businessman rose to national prominence as the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2012, famously touting a "9-9-9" tax plan.

He dropped out after facing sexual harassment allegations.

Cain was a prominent Trump supporter. He was the co-chair of the Trump campaign's outreach initiative for Black voters.

Trump supported Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board last year, but Cain withdrew from consideration a few weeks later.

On Twitter, Trump said he "adored" Cain, whom he called "a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.