Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after contracting the coronavirus. Cain, who had announced his candidacy for president in 2011 and served as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, died at an Atlanta-area hospital Thursday morning after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 74.
"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," a statement on his website reads. "Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away. He's entering the presence of the Savior he's served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta for, and preparing for his reward."
Cain had tested positive for the virus on June 29, a little more than a week after attending President Donald Trump's controversial campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ahead of that rally, six members of the Trump campaign's advance team, including two Secret Service agents, had tested positive for the virus, and dozens of Secret Service agents had later been ordered to quarantine for 14 days as a safety precaution. Despite his attendance, it remains unclear when or where Cain had contracted the virus.
According to the statement announcing his passing, the 74-year-old cancer survivor had been taken to an Atlanta hospital in early July after he began having difficulty breathing. Those close to him "knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight," and it "became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle." His team added that as soon as just five days ago, there had been "hopeful indicators" amid his battle, as "doctors told us they thought he would eventually recover, although it wouldn't be quick."
On Monday, however, Cain's team, in a series of tweets, had revealed that he was undergoing oxygen treatment for his lungs, explaining that "re-strengthening the lungs is a long and slow process, and the doctors want to be thorough about it." At the time, the team reported that "the doctors say his other organs and systems are strong."
A former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Missouri and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Cain announced his candidacy for president in 2011, drawing attention for his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. The plan sought to replace most current taxes with a 9% income tax, a 9% corporate tax, and a 9% national sales tax, according to Newsmax. Although Cain eventually dropped out of the race amid sexual harassment allegations, in 2019, Trump nominated him to Federal Reserve Board.