‘Joe the Plumber’ Who Confronted Obama On ‘08 Campaign Trail Dies At 49

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher address a campaign rally at Lorain County Community College October 30, 2008 in Elyria, Ohio. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
11:26 AM – Monday, August 28, 2023

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who became widely known as “Joe The Plumber” after confronting then presidential nominee Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, died on Sunday at 49-years-old. 


His wife confirmed the news on Monday in an email to Fox News Digital. 

“Our hearts are broken. We lost a beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend. He made an impact on so many lives,” Katie Wurzelbacher wrote in a statement.

This comes after Wurzelbacher announced in July he was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer. 

“When I met Joe he was already known by everyone else as ‘Joe The Plumber’ but he wrote something to me that stood out and showed me who he truly was: ‘just Joe,” she said. “He was an average, honorable man trying to do great things for the country he loved so deeply after being thrust into the public eye for asking a question.”

Wurzelbacher was a military veteran who was undergoing treatment at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital and the University of Michigan Hospital. 

His trademark name came after he was critical of Obama’s tax plan during a 2008 campaign stop in Toledo, Ohio.

“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250-280,00 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” he asked Obama, according to a video shared by the Associated Press. 

John McCain, the late former U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee against Obama at the time, referenced “Joe The Plumber” during his campaign and had him join on the trail. 

After the recognition in 2008, Wurzelbacher ran a failed campaign to unseat incumbent Democrat Representative Marcy Kaptur for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District seat in 2012.

“Joe The Plumber” is survived by his wife and children.

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