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WASHINGTON— Former Republican presidential candidate and co-chair of ‘Black Voices for Trump,’ Herman Cain, has died from complications due to COVID-19. He was 74.

News of the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO’s death was released on his Twitter account Thursday morning.

“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,” the tweet said.

Cain was hospitalized in early July, a couple of weeks after attending President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cain was not wearing a mask, nor practicing social distancing.

At least eight Trump advance team staffers who were in attendance tested positive for coronavirus afterward, but Cain’s team did not want to speculate how or where he was exposed.


“We honestly have no idea where he contracted it. I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking,” Dan Calabrese, who has been editor of HermanCain.com since 2012, said in a post earlier this month announcing Cain’s Covid-19 diagnosis.

Cain grew up in Georgia and graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then graduated with a master’s degree in computer science at Purdue University, while also working full-time for the U.S. Department of the Navy. In 1977, he joined the Pillsbury Company where he later became vice president. During the 1980s, Cain’s success as a business executive at Burger King prompted Pillsbury to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, in which capacity he served from 1986 to 1996.

Cain was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch from 1989 to 1991. He was deputy chairman, from 1992 to 1994, and then chairman until 1996, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In 1995, he was appointed to the Kemp Commission, and in 1996, he served as a senior economic adviser to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. From 1996 to 1999, Cain served as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

In May 2011, Cain announced his 2012 presidential candidacy. By the fall, his proposed 9–9–9 tax plan and debating performances had made him a serious contender for the Republican nomination. In November, however, his campaign faced allegations of sexual misconduct — all denied by Cain — and he announced its suspension on December 3.

He remained involved in politics afterwards. Cain was also in the process of launching a weekly television show on Newsmax.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria, and their two children, Melanie and Vincent, and grandchildren.

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