Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher died on Sunday after a long battle with pancreatic carcinoma, according to his wife, who confirmed the news to NBC News. Wurzelbacher’s question to Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign for the presidency thrust him into national prominence. He was 49.
Wurzelbacher was better known as Joe the Plumber after asking a question about Obama’s tax policies and their potential impact on small business. He became known as “Joe the Plumber” after asking a question to then-candidate Obama about his tax policies and their potential negative impact on small businesses.
According to a fundraising campaign , Wurzelbacher, a former football player, was diagnosed last year with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer after experiencing stomach problems for a few months. In a Monday statement, his wife Katie said that he had “fought long and tough, but now is free from pain.”
In her statement, she stated that “when I met Joe, he was already well-known to everyone as ‘Joe The Plumber’. But he wrote me something that stood out and revealed who he really was: ‘just Joe’.” “He was a decent, honorable man who tried to do great things for his country after being thrust in the spotlight for asking a simple question.”
According to the fundraiser campaign, Wurzelbacher and his wife, who were married in 2011, had three children. Wurzelbacher had too much pain in the days before his death to get out of bed.
His wife said, “My heart goes to all those whose lives have been affected by cancer.” “There were so many ups-and-downs, but we tried finding joy in each day.”
In the years that followed his viral celebrity status, Wurzelbacher made several remarks that indicated he didn’t appreciate the attention and notoriety that came with his 2008 presidential campaign question. In October 2008, he said to Fox News that felt “small” after online criticism.
In 2010, he told a Pennsylvania radio station he thought former Republican nominee John McCain had “messed up” his own life by bringing it into the presidential race.
He said, “McCain tried to use me.” “I was the face of middle Americans.” It was a ploy.”
Two years later, Wurzelbacher re-entered the limelight by running for Ohio’s 9th U.S. House District against Democratic Rep. Marcy Captur. Wurzelbacher tried to connect the Holocaust and gun legislation in one of his ads. He claimed that Germany’s 1939 “gun control” left millions of Jews unable to defend their lives.
In response to the backlash against the ad, Wurzelbacher said to Politico: “If people want to be offended by this clip, they probably have a political agenda.” “Unfortunately, there are many whiners.”
Wurzelbacher lost to Kaptur at the general elections of 2012. According to his fundraising campaign, Wurzelbacher returned to plumbing after his political foray.