MILWAUKEE – A Milwaukee Public Schools teacher was placed on leave Wednesday for tweeting that he hopes conservative talk show pundit Rush Limbaugh dies a painful death from cancer.
Travis Sarandos, who teaches English at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, has since deleted his Twitter account.
Replying to a different tweet expressing hope that Limbaugh would recover and begin advocating for affordable health care, Sarandos wrote: "limbaugh absolutely should have to suffer from cancer. it's awesome that he's dying, and hopefully it is as quick as it is painful."
It drew a small firestorm after conservative radio host Mark Belling blasted the tweet in his blog Tuesday.
Milwaukee Public Schools initially said in an email to the USA TODAY Network's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it was aware of the tweet, but that Sarandos was not speaking on behalf of the district or students or other staff. Hours later it confirmed he had been placed on leave pending an investigation.
Limbaugh announced earlier this week that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
The announcement prompted a huge response across social media – some of it voicing heartfelt thanks and support for Limbaugh, some of it expressing contempt and derision for his work.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, calling Limbaugh "a National Treasure who has made a difference on the airwaves of America for 30 years" and vowing to pray for his "swift recovery."
And President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Tuesday's State of the Union address.
Author and CNN personality Reza Aslan tweeted: "Almost every minute of Rush’s adult life has been spent purposely making the world worse. He’s a racist, sexist, greedy, hateful man who has sown fear and violence with every dollar he’s made. Ask yourself this simple question: Is the world a better place or a worse place with Rush Limbaugh in it?”