Joe 'the plumber' Wurzelbacher dies at 49

August 28, 2023
Robert Ayers

Joe Wurzelbacher, the man who was given the nickname "Joe the Plumber" during the 2008 presidential election, has died at the age of 49. 

Townhall columnist Derek Hunter announced Wurzelbacher's passing via X, formerly known as Twitter.

It turns out that Wurzelbacher's passing was the result of pancreatic cancer.

Hunter, on Sunday, wrote:

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.

More details:

Hunter attached to this post a link to a GiveSendGo page where people can donate to Wurzelbacher's family. At the time of this writing, over $130,000 has been donated. 

The GiveSendGo page provides further details about Wurzelbacher's cancer diagnosis and about what he has been going through.

The details are provided by Wurzelbacher's wife, Katie Wurzelbacher.

Katie Wurzelbacher states:

Joe had been having stomach issues for about 3 months, which eventually became painful. On December 26th, he'd had enough of the pain and we went to the VA emergency room in Ann Arbor. They ran tests and performed scans which showed a mass in the head of his pancreas. The mass was restricting one of his biliary ducts, so they classified it as Stage 3 cancer. They also found that his SMV had a large blood clot. His current treatment plan is 6 months of Folfirinox chemotherapy and surgery to remove half of his pancreas and reconstruct the vein with the clot.

Katie Wurzelbacher describes the treatment that her husband had been receiving as "tough," saying that he lost 70 pounds.

Remembering Wulzerbacher

Wulzerbacher is particularly remembered for a 2008 exchange that he had with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. The exchange was about Obama's tax policies.

Wulzerbacher asked Obama, "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?"

Obama began his reply by explaining how his tax policies would work in this situation. Then, Obama said:

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. 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.

Obama's opponent, John McCain, would subsequently use Obama's "spreading the wealth around" remark against Obama. Then, the mainstream media came to Obama's defense, publishing multiple articles targeting Wulzerbacher, who was given the nickname "Joe the Plumber."

Wulzerbacher was a veteran, a husband, and the father of three young children.

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