Herman Cain, the former GOP presidential candidate and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus complications at 74. His death was announced Thursday on his website and social media accounts by Dan Calabrese, who edits Cain’s site.

Cain had been hospitalized in the Atlanta area this month for the coronavirus after attending President Donald Trump‘s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally, on June 20. He received his positive diagnosis less than two weeks after he attended.

Calabrese said that Cain had done “a lot of traveling” recently, which exposed him more to the virus.

“I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected… We’ll never know,” Calabrese said.


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Cain had also overcome colon and liver cancer in the mid-2000s, which rendered him more vulnerable.

“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight … Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years, he was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer,” Calabrese added.

Born and raised in the segregated South, Cain fought against odds, his whole life, rising from poverty to become the chief executive of a successful pizza enterprise, and then catapulting himself into the national spotlight during the 2012 presidential campaign season. Cain gained momentum when voters grew concerned that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was not conservative enough. However, Cain dropped out of the race after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, which he denied.

For years, Cain had worked assiduously, climbing the corporate ladder Pillsbury and Burger King, before finally becoming the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He was born on Dec. 13, 1945, in Memphis into the household of a three-job father, who was a barber, a janitor and a chauffeur for Robert W. Woodruff, president of The Coca-Cola Company, which is based in Atlanta where Cain was raised. His mother was a cleaning woman and a domestic worker.

In 2016, he became an early supporter of Trump.

Trump started a news conference Thursday commemorating Cain, saying, “He was a very special person … and unfortunately he passed away from a thing called the China virus.”

Cain had been co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

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