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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 31, 2020

Herman Cain died of COVID-19, not cancer

If Your Time is short

  • Herman Cain died of complications from COVID-19 on July 30. 


  • In 2006, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, which spread to his liver, but he recovered and went on to run for president in 2012.

On July 30, Herman Cain, who sought the Republican nomination for president in 2012, died of complications from COVID-19. Dan Calabrese, the editor of, broke the news in a post on the website that morning.

"We knew that when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight," Calabrese wrote. "He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle."

At a news conference later that day, President Donald Trump began by remembering Cain and said he died from the coronavirus. 

On social media, though, some people are casting doubt on Cain’s cause of death. 

"Herman Cain RIP," one post says. "He had Stage 4 Colon and Liver Cancer, yet he is declared to have died from COVID19? IMAGINE THAT!"

"I just found out Herman Cain died from stage 4 colon cancer they marked him as a covid-19 death," another says. "How can we believe anything they tell us about covid-19."

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These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Cain tested positive for COVID on June 29 and he was hospitalized on July 1, about two weeks after he attended Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. In the weeks leading up to his death, updates about his health were occasionally posted to his verified Twitter account

How he contracted the virus is unknown, but Calabrese confirmed to the Washington Post that Cain’s cause of death was COVID-19.

Cain, who was 74,  was a cancer survivor, which Calabrese noted in his post on 

"Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years," the post says, Cain"was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer."

In 2006, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that spread to his liver, but he recovered

We rate these posts False.

Correction: Hermain Cain died on July 30. This article previously said he died on June 30.

Our Sources

Facebook post, July 30, 2020

Facebook post, July 30, 2020

Tweet, July 2, 2020

The Associated Press, Former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain dies of COVID-19, July 30, 2020, We’re heartbroken, and the world is poorer: Herman Cain has gone to be with the Lord, July 30, 2020

The White House, Remarks by President Trump in press briefing, July 30, 2020

The Washington Post, Herman Cain, former Republican presidential hopeful, has died of coronavirus, his website says, July 30, 2020

The New York Times, Herman Cain, former C.E.O. and presidential candidate, dies at 74, July 30, 2020

The Washington Post, Herman Cain beats odds against surviving colon cancer, Oct. 17, 2011


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Herman Cain died of COVID-19, not cancer

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