RUSH: Hello, folks, and welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program here on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Middle of the week, Wednesday. It’s a thrill and a delight to have you with us. It is also a day of really profound heartbreak for those of us who knew the author Vince Flynn, who passed away this morning at 1:50 a.m. Central time at a hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prostate cancer that was discovered too late. I’m numb sitting here today in a state of shock about this. But what I want to try to do in recounting the Vince Flynn that we all knew is to be as upbeat and optimistic as I can because he was.
I first became aware of Vince reading his novels. His hero is Mitch Rapp. Those of us who have read his novels should know something. Mitch Rapp is Vince Flynn. Vince Flynn was a real man, the real deal. One of the bravest, most courageous guys that I have ever met. And he was a guy. He was a man’s man. I remember picking up his first novel, couldn’t put it down. I told you about it on the radio while I was in the process of reading it, when I’d finished it. And within a couple of hours I received an e-mail from him. He had gone to the trouble to try to find out how to reach me, and did, and sent me an e-mail thanking me profusely. And basically starting out an e-mail relationship.
We stayed in touch. I read every book that came out. He would thank me each time I mentioned it. He suggested often, “We need to get together. I’d love to meet you. We need to sit around and talk about some things,” and I said, “Yeah, we’ll do that.” And it finally happened. I was out in Los Angeles visiting the set of the Fox series “24,” and I walked in, and Vince was there with all the writers and producers. He had been hired as a consultant for the remaining few episodes of that season. And he was just beaming. He just excited as he could be. He was excited to be there. He was excited to be on the writing staff, the consultancy staff at “24,” and he just came up and smiled and shook my hand and told me how great it was to meet me and we became fast friends after that.
Every spring at my home we have what’s called the Spring Fling. A bunch of us get together for a long weekend of golf and dinner and wine and cigars. The wives are there and it’s just terrific. It’s a great three- to four-day weekend. Vince would show up every time we had the Spring Fling, and he’d show up with presents for everybody. I’m wearing one of those presents now. I wear it all the time, a watch he gave me, a Panerai Luminor watch. He gave it to me, said it’s the best watch going. He told me about the people that made it. He told me that they were friends of his, the finest watch, you won’t find one better than this. He stood there and watched while I put it on, smiling.
Then he’d make a beeline for the humidor and grab a cigar. Then he’d grab his wife, Lysa, they’d head to the beach and walk the beach, get back, we’d all sit around and have adult beverages before dinner, sit outside on the deck chewing the fat. He would regale us with inside scoop that he had learned in the process of researching his books. Mitch Rapp, his hero, is a CIA agent. I asked him once, I said, “How many Mitch Rapps are there in the CIA?”
If you haven’t read any Vince Flynn books, you really should start. For no other reason than they’re great. And if you want to know who Vince was, Vince is Mitch Rapp in so many ways.
I said, “How many of these guys do we have in the CIA around the world?” He said about 50, 50 or 60. These guys are superman. You know what they say about people that never had a bad word to say about anybody? Well, outside of political discussions, but among the people that we knew in our friendship circle, never anything but complimentary things. And if ever anybody in our group ended up being criticized for something or about something, he was the first to come in and defend them. He was selfless. For a man as successful as he was, he had absolutely no pretentiousness about him. He had no ego.
I remember when he told us all that cancer had been discovered. It was scary for us and for him, because what had alerted him that something was wrong was pain. And there isn’t — from what I’ve been told, anyway — now, there might be some doctors that disagree, but from what I’ve been told and what Vince told us, there usually isn’t any pain associated with prostate cancer. That if you have prostate cancer and there’s pain, that means that the cancer has spread elsewhere, and that was what had happened in Vince’s case. But he immediately began a regimen prescribed by his doctors and his own research to try to deal with it, and each and every time that he would be asked about it, he was nothing but optimistic.
One of the reasons everybody’s so shocked is that there wasn’t an instance of complaint. About the only indication that we had recently was we all got an e-mail from Vince that essentially laid out his condition, how he was doing, and it was the first indication that things were deteriorating, and the message was, “I’m worn out answering the question ‘how am I doing.'”
So the e-mail was explanatory, and there was an unstated but an understood message in it: “Let this be the answer whenever you’re asking,” because at that point — and this was just a few months ago. It wasn’t that long ago. But the acts of kindness that he engaged in for everybody were legion. If somebody was sick and needed to see somebody at the Mayo Clinic, he could do it and made it happen. If somebody’s child was having trouble in school and needed to find a place to get into in Minnesota, he could find a place, and did.
If you were ever in town, unannounced, for whatever reason and wanted to see him, he’d stop what he was doing and spend the day with you. He just was one of these unique people that was entirely engaging every time you’re with him. There wasn’t a moment when people said anything negative about him. I don’t know very many people like that. So last night I got home late, Kathryn and I got home late, and got a note from George Brett saying that Vince had been taken to the intensive care unit at his local hospital.
He couldn’t breathe, and that they were doing tests to find out whether it was the result of the hormone treatment medication or whether it was the cancer and that they would have an answer for us by Thursday and let us know. And then I arrived this morning, and shortly after getting here — a half hour after I got here — I received notification that Vince had died. And ever since I’ve been sitting here sort of in a state of shock and numb. Again, because there were people in our group that were planning on going to Minnesota next month to spend a weekend with Vince and his wife, Lysa, and their kids.
It has come as a shock. Again, Vince didn’t complain. He didn’t seek sympathy. He was nothing but optimistic. “I’m gonna beat this.” He was really courageous, folks. He was bravery personified during all of this. Forty-seven years old. Kids. Wife. His father died of this disease, and young as well. I just watched a local (it’s WCCO-TV Minnesota) show, one of the CBS News shows, a report — they had done an interview with Vince not long ago — about this disease and its status and how he was doing.
He was saying, “Oh, yeah, I just talked to the doctor, and I’m gonna live to be a ripe old man. We’ve got this. We’re beating this. We’ve got this disease on the ropes.” That’s just the way he was about it. It was the way he was about life. And he was engaged, and he was opinionated, and he was informed. He was a thoughtful, thinking, considerate, caring, real man. A brave, brave guy. He went out of his way to do anything he could for anybody and didn’t expect anything in return, didn’t want anything in return.
There are a lot of people who are gonna miss him terribly.
Everybody that knew him is gonna miss him terribly.
I had to mention this to you out of all of our love for Vince and our respect for him and his meaning to all of us in our lives, what he added to them. So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with Vince and his work, there are 17 Vince Flynn novels, and the vast majority of them have reached the top of the New York Times best-seller list, and for a reason. He was just a great guy, folks. He was just the kind of person you wish everybody in your neighborhood was.
He was the kind of person that you wish everybody in positions of power was, the kind of guy that you wish the president of the United States was. He was the kind of guy you wish your preacher was. Whoever. I mean, if every person in the neighborhood was like Vince Flynn you’d live in the greatest place in the country. And those of us who were fortunate enough to count him as a friend are able to say that with absolute truth and pride.
He was just a wonderful man.
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, if you would indulge me for one more remembrance of our great friend Vince Flynn, it wasn’t just the Spring Fling that took place in my fashionable ocean-side residence. But every autumn a different group of guys would show up, sans wives, and have a guys’ golf weekend. Vince was the one crossover. Vince was the one guy in both groups that showed up to both groups. They were two separate groups, but Vince was the crossover. He showed up at both.
I really can’t emphasize… It’s a subject that comes up on this program, and has, since its interception. The concept of character and integrity, and he was those things personified. He was incorruptible. He was the finest character, a man of such integrity, and it was inspiring. Vince was an infectious personality and an infectious man, and one of these people that we wanted to emulate in everything: The way he lived, the way he looked at things, the way he respected other people.
I remember the last golf group, the fall golf group, one of the most recent ones we’ve had. I sent the invitations out, and he said, “I don’t know. I’m in the middle of these treatments, and I just don’t think I can play.” I said, “It doesn’t matter if you can play. Come on. You know, bring your clubs and go out with us. If you can swing a club on a couple of holes, do it, but we’d love to have you.” So he came, and he brought his clubs and he got out a couple of days. He played two or three holes.
But the thing about Vince: One of the reasons I’m shocked is he never looked sick in the midst of this. Not until recently, of course, but he never, ever looked sick. When he would tell you the latest status and details and what was going on, you’d look at him and say, “It can’t possibly be.” He was a strapping guy. He was the epitome… (sigh) You take any of your Hollywood action heroes that are out there — the jutting jaw, the strong-cut jaw, the fit physique, torso.
He was it, even in the midst of all of his treatments and so forth. Other than if he told you, you would never know. Just a great guy. He’s one of these people I wish everybody coulda gotten to know. But you can, in your own way, by familiarizing yourself with his books and with his character, Mitch Rapp. We often asked him, “Are you writing about yourself?” and he never wanted to talk about himself in that regard. It was always about the character and always about the story and always about other people.
But, trust me. If you read the books or have read them, you’ll discover quite a lot about who Vince Flynn was.