Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and conservative intellectual, has died at 68.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend, Charles Krauthammer,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement Thursday.
“A gifted doctor and brilliant political commentator, Charles was a guiding voice throughout his time with FOX News and we were incredibly fortunate to showcase his extraordinary talent on our programs. He was an inspiration to all of us and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife Robyn and his son Daniel,” the statement added.
Mr Krauthammer’s demise was unexpected because his doctors warned ahead weeks ago. Still, events leading to it were tragic for many of his readers and viewers.
He had not been on Fox News since last August 2015 after undergoing stomach surgery. He announced in May that he was “finally getting back on track.”
But in a letter published by the Washington Post earlier this month, the conservative commentator said that a “secondary cancer” had spread after doctors successfully removed a tumor in his abdomen.
“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” he wrote on June 8.
News of Krauthammer’s death quickly drew an outpouring of tributes Thursday evening from his colleagues, Washington Post and others who admired him as a conservative figure.
Former President George Bush said in a statement that he and his wife Laura were “deeply saddened by the loss of an intellectual giant and dear friend.”
“For decades, Charles’ words have strengthened our democracy. His work was far-reaching and influential – and while his voice will be deeply missed, his ideas and values will always be a part of our country,” Mr Bush said.
Mr Krauthammer was credited with laying the ideological groundwork for the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration in 2003.
“Just because this news didn’t come as a surprise does not make it any easier to face,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said in a statement, adding that Mr Krauthammer “was in a class of his own.”
Mr Krauthammer thanked his readers and viewers, as well as his friends for “a lifetime of memories” in his letter published by Washington Post, where he maintained a column from mid-1980s until his death.
“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended,” Mr Krauthammer said.
Educated at Harvard, he was paralysed from the waist down in a diving accident that occurred during his first year.
He went on to graduate and later became a physician before turning to media.
“Charles wrote for the right reasons. Lord knows – and presidents, from right to left, can attest – he didn’t seek invitations to White House dinners or other badges of approval from the powerful.
“He sought, rather, to provoke us to think, to enlarge our understanding, at times to make us laugh,” the Washington Post editorial board wrote in a piece thanking him for his work earlier this month.
At Fox News, Mr Krauthammer was a regular feature on “Special Report with Bret Baier” for more than a decade.
He won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his writing at the Washington Post.
He was born in Manhattan, New York, on March 13, 1950, and moved to in Montreal, Canada, with his father and mother who were Jewish refugees from Europe.
He graduated first in class at McGill University, Montreal, in 1970 with a degree in political science and economics.
He then spent a year studying political theory at the University of Oxford. Amid the ferment of student revolution on college campuses, he grew disillusioned with politics and abruptly switched course to pursue medicine.
That discipline, he later wrote, “promised not only moral certainty, but intellectual certainty, a hardness to truth, something not to be found in the universe of politics.”
He worked as a speechwriter for former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale in the 1970s before moving fully into print journalism as a conservative columnist and later to television as a commentator.