Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, or “Joe the Plumber,” reportedly passed away on Sunday, according to his wife Katie Wurzelbacher, who made the announcement on Monday. Wurzelbacher gained notoriety for challenging then-candidate for president Barack Obama on the 2008 campaign trail.
He was only 49 years old.
Joe Wurzelbacher revealed in July that he had been given a pancreatic cancer diagnosis that was very aggressive.
As of Monday, $135,234 had been raised through a fundraising started months ago on the Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo to aid Wurzelbacher’s family during his cancer battle.
Plumbing company owner Joe Wurzelbacher gained national attention when he addressed Obama at a 2008 campaign event in Toledo, Ohio, and claimed that the Democratic presidential candidate’s tax plan was incompatible with the American dream.
Obama argued in opposition that the proposal would hasten the expansion of small enterprises.
When running for president himself, John McCain, the late former U.S. senator from Arizona and the Republican contender at the time, made references to “Joe The Plumber” and finally invited Wurzelbacher to join him on the campaign trail.
According to reports, Wurzelbacher’s name was brought up more than a dozen times during the Obama and McCain presidential debate on October 15, 2008. In 2012, Wurzelbacher ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Ohio’s 9th congressional district’s Democratic incumbent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur.