Don Imus Says He Has Prostate Cancer
Monday, March 16, 2009; 11:08 AM
Don Imus, the sometimes caustic and always controversial radio host, announced on the air this morning that he has Stage 2 prostate cancer.
Colleagues said the cancer was considered treatable and that the prognosis was good.
Imus joked at times about the situation, saying he hadn't even told his publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, who heard the news while riding on a bus and immediately sent him an e-mail asking whether the story was true.
"The day you find out is fine," Imus told his listeners on the "Imus in the Morning" show. "But the next morning when you get up, your knees are shaking. I didn't think I could make it to work."
In a telephone interview, Hiltzik said he later called Imus to talk about putting out a statement, and Imus -- before jokingly hanging up on him -- told him that "stress makes cancer worse. You're giving me worse cancer right now."
"We enjoy surprising each other, and I think he won this round," Hiltzik said.
Imus says he has more affiliates and listeners from his base at New York-based WABC than he did when was employed by CBS Radio, which fired him during the 2007 uproar over his racially charged ridicule of the Rutgers women's basketball team.
MSNBC also dropped Imus during that episode. His program is now simulcast on the RFD channel.
Imus has battled various ailments over the years, including drug addiction and a collapsed lung.
He and his wife Deirdre run a ranch in New Mexico that provides a haven for children with cancer.
In breaking the news to his listeners during the show, Imus quipped that he will be "changing the name of the 'Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer' to the 'the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer, and Me.' "
Hiltzik issued a statement saying: "Don appreciates the good wishes he's already received from his listeners and viewers. After years at the Imus Ranch surrounded by inspirational children battling cancer, Don is well-prepared to fight this. And no, this does not make him eligible for the kids' rodeo competition."