In March 2009, Imus was diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer.
On his September 9, 2014, broadcast, he announced that the New Mexico ranch would be sold, due to his belief that the ranch had "run its course" as well as "health and other issues" (he specifically noted that his breathing had been damaged by a rib injury, making it difficult to breathe in New Mexico's high altitude).
In 2000, Imus suffered serious injuries after a fall from a horse at his ranch and broadcast several shows from a hospital.
The injuries resulted in chronic breathing problems, especially at higher altitudes, he has complained on his program.
Imus served in the Marine Corps as a bugler from 1957 to 1960 and battled alcoholism during his early career in New York, but in 1987 finally pursued effective treatment. His act was reminiscent of pioneer shock-jock Petey Green's.
In 1988, with his cocaine and alcohol addictions now legendary in show business, Imus reshaped his show from strictly comedy into a forum for political issues, charitable causes, and news-based parodies, largely inspired by Howard Stern's format.
Proceeds from the property's sale would go to a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that will donate to children's cancer causes.
In 1978 he returned to Cleveland radio as afternoon drive host on WHK, making the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on his first day back in town.As Hargis, Imus touted on-air the merits of the "First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship".Imus published the 1981 best-selling novel God's Other Son that further depicted Hargis' adventures.The novel was republished in 1994 by popular demand and spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.Other regular Imus characters included the supposed general manager "Geraldo Santana Banana" (played by doo-wop singer Larry Chance), and "Moby Worm", a monstrous creature who devoured local schools (which was reported on the show's "breaking news updates").