Herman Cain dies after COVID-19 battle

FILE - In this June 20, 2014, file photo, Herman Cain speaks during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

ATLANTA — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died from COVID-19, reported by the conservative news site Newsmax and later on his personal website. He was 74.

The former pizza company executive has been an outspoken backer of the president and was named by the campaign as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

Cain, who recently joined Newsmax TV and was set to launch a weekly show, died in an Atlanta-area hospital where he had been critically ill for several weeks.

He was admitted on July 1, two days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“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,” was written on Cain’s Twitter account, confirming his death on Thursday morning. 

Cain briefly rose to the top of polls during the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination by highlighting a plan to simplify the tax code with what he called the 9-9-9 plan. On the campaign trail, he spoke about being diagnosed in 2006 with stage 4 liver cancer and his doctors giving him slim hope for long-term survival.

More recently, he has kept involved in conservative politics and as a political commentator.

Cain graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in mathematics, and earned a master’s in computer science from Purdue University. He served as chief executive officer and president of Godfather’s Pizza until 1996 and served as president of the National Restaurant Association. Cain was also chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1995-96.