Mr Cain, 74, was hospitalised after being diagnosed with the disease earlier this month.
“Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away,” a message posted on his official website said.
He was a supporter of President Trump and is one of the most high-profile Americans to die with the virus.
His social media accounts had been providing regular updates on his condition. On 7 July, a post from his Twitter account said “doctors are trying to make sure his oxygen levels are right”.
“This is a tough virus,” it said. “Please continue praying.”
Who was Cain?
Born in Tennessee to a janitor and a cleaner, Mr Cain went on to study for a degree in maths and a master’s in computing.
He worked variously as a Baptist minister, a radio talk show host and as a businessman.
Mr Cain was an advocate of a flat tax system and ran for office after a stint as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.
During his run, he told reporters he would not stand for any “gotcha questions”.
“And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I’m going to say you know, I don’t know. Do you know?”
He initially proved popular, but later found himself at the centre of a number of sexual harassment allegations.
Although he denied the accusations against him, his popularity soon suffered and he suspended his campaign. Mitt Romney later became the Republican candidate in an unsuccessful race against President Barack Obama’s bid for a second term in office.
In 2019, Mr Trump sounded him out to sit on the Federal Reserve Board, but he withdrew his nomination after several Republican senators refused to back his appointment.
However, Mr Cain continued to back Mr Trump and appeared at a rally held by the president in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 20 June.
He was admitted to hospital after contacting coronavirus on 1 July.
Mitt Romney has been among those paying tribute to Mr Cain.
“Saddened that Herman Cain – a formidable champion of business, politics and policy – has lost his battle with Covid,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former employee Dan Calabrese also praised Mr Cain’s legacy.
“Most people heard of Herman for the first time when he ran for president in 2011. What they didn’t know was his business background,” he wrote on Mr Cain’s official website.
“They didn’t know how he had started his career as a civilian employee of the Navy. It was funny to us because sometimes political pundits portrayed him as kind of a goof – having no idea that during his time working for the Navy, he was literally a rocket scientist.”
Mr Cain had enjoyed good health in recent years, Mr Calabrese wrote, but added that a previous diagnosis with cancer meant “he was still in a high-risk group” in the current pandemic.
Herman Cain, a onetime Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus, according to an obituary sent from his verified Twitter account and Newsmax, where he was launching a television show.
Cain, 74, was hospitalized earlier this month, and his Twitter account said this week he was being treated with oxygen in his lungs. It is unknown where Cain contracted the virus.”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,” his official Twitter account said Thursday.
As a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, Cain was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — which saw at least eight Trump advance team staffers in attendance test positive for coronavirus. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh has told CNN that Cain did not meet with Trump at the Tulsa rally.Cain had posted a photo of himself at the rally, seated closely among other attendees without a facial covering.
“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 announced his candidacy for president in 2011. He briefly gained traction in the race for his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, which would have replaced almost all current taxes with a 9% income tax, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% national sales tax. After about seven months, he dropped his bid for the GOP nomination amid sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.Cain was considered at an increased risk for coronavirus due to his age and history with cancer, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Soon after the news of Cain’s passing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the former entrepreneur “embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit.””Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time,” McEnany tweeted. “We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith.
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