ATLANTA — 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain has died at an Atlanta-area hospital after battling the coronavirus, according to a statement posted on his official Twitter account Thursday.

Cain had been hospitalized at the beginning of July for COVID-19. As a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, Cain was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At least eight Trump advance team staffers who attended the Tulsa rally also tested positive for coronavirus.

Trump faced criticism for holding the big-arena event despite warnings from public health experts that it is not yet safe to hold mass gatherings. More than 6,000 people attended the rally at the BOK Center, an arena that can seat more than 19,000.

Cain briefly rose to the top of polls during the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination by highlighting a plan to simplify the tax code with what he called the 9-9-9 plan. On the campaign trail, he spoke about being diagnosed in 2006 with stage 4 liver cancer and his doctors giving him slim hope for long-term survival.

More recently, he has kept involved in conservative politics as a commentator on Newsmax.