Samuel Wurzelbacher, Known From 2008 Election as ‘Joe the Plumber,’ Dies at 49

Samuel Wurzelbacher, who became known as “Joe the Plumber” and gained notoriety during the 2008 presidential campaign, has died. He was 49.

Wurzelbacher’s wife Katie revealed that her husband died from pancreatic cancer complications, according to a statement released to multiple media outlets. During his illness, a crowdsourcing service had raised money for the Wurzelbacher family, and shared the news that he had died Sunday morning.

Wurzelbacher rose to fame after he confronted former President Barack Obama during his initial 2008 run for the White House. They met during an Obama campaign stop in Ohio about Obama’s proposed small business tax increase.

Wurzelbacher asked Obama about the proposal as someone who was looking to buy a plumbing business, which he said would let him make $250,000 per year. He wanted to know the details of Obama’s plan, which would affect that potential new income. Video of their conversation went viral (you can watch the clip above).

Obama’s 2008 Republican opponent John McCain championed “Joe the Plumber,” including bringing him up during their final presidential debate. You can watch that debate moment here.

McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, also made rally appearances alongside Wurzelbacher.

It was later learned that Wurzelbacher was not a licensed plumber. When he ran for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, he only won 23% of the vote and lost to incumbent Marcy Kaptur, the Democratic candidate.

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