Joe Wurzelbacher, whom Americans would remember as “Joe the Plumber” from the 2008 presidential election, died on Sunday at the age of 49 from pancreatic cancer.
News of Wurzelbacher’s death broke on Twitter late Sunday afternoon.
“Horrible news. My good friend Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, passed away this morning at the age of 49 from pancreatic cancer. He was a good man and an exceptional friend. Please consider helping his widow and young children here,” announced Townhall columnist Derek Hunter, who shared a GiveSendGo link.
Horrible news. My good friend Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, passed away this morning at the age of 49 from pancreatic cancer. He was a good man and an exceptional friend. Please consider helping his widow and young children here https://t.co/oFczc0urX2
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) August 27, 2023
The GiveSendGo page said that Wurzelbacher was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer earlier this year after experiencing severe stomach pains over the Christmas holiday that put him in the emergency room.
“The treatment has been a little tough so far. He deals with fatigue and weakness daily, which makes it hard for him to go to work. The oncologist has made adjustments to his chemo which has provided a little relief of the constant nausea he had after his first two treatments. Since all his issues and treatment began, he’s lost 70 pounds,” Joe’s wife Katie said at the time.
Joe and his wife were married in 2011. They have three children together.
Wurzelbacher became a household name during the 2008 presidential election when the media dubbed him “Joe the Plumber” after he questioned then-presidential candidate Barack Obama about his tax policy.
“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?” asked Joe.
“If you’re a small business, which you would qualify, first of all, you would get a 50 percent tax credit so you’d get a cut in taxes for your health care costs,” Obama responded. “So you would actually get a tax cut on that part. If your revenue is above 250, then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that, say for 250 up — from 250 to 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go from 36 to 39 percent, which is what it was under Bill Clinton.”
“It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too,” he continued. “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off […] if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
The John McCain campaign then utilized Obama’s final comment about “spreading the wealth around” in a major attack ad, which then prompted several journalists to write up several hit pieces questioning Joe’s plumbing credentials and tax payment history.
In 2016, Wurzelbacher endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump in an op-ed for Breitbart News.
“I don’t know if we’ve passed it, but I know this: I support Donald Trump to try and restore us first to sanity, then back to greatness. If you don’t believe the Constitution and our very way of life hang in the balance in this election, then you’d better start paying attention,” he wrote.