Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer has died, The Washington Post confirmed Thursday. He was 68.
The announcement came nearly two weeks after the columnist and Fox News personality revealed in a Washington Post column that he only had weeks left to live. For most of the last year, he wrote, he’d been recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. Though the procedure was initially thought to be successful, the cancer returned and began spreading rapidly.
“This is the final verdict,” he wrote. “My fight is over.”
Krauthammer, a psychiatrist turned media personality, used his final column to reflect on the opportunity his career gave him in playing a “small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”
“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,” he continued. “I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”
He is survived by his wife, Robyn, and a son, Daniel.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend, Charles Krauthammer,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in a statement. “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.”
Although the conservative commentator spent the end of his career as a pundit on Fox News, the preferred news outlet of President Donald Trump, Krauthammer didn’t shy away from criticizing the president. He refused to vote for him and didn’t sugarcoat his belief that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Krauthammer expressed those views in his weekly Washington Post political column, which he’d written since 1985 and had syndicated in hundreds of other publications. In 1987, the gig earned him a Pulitzer Prize honoring him for his “witty and insightful columns on national issues.” He stopped regularly writing it last summer after his diagnosis.
Before transitioning into media, he graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in psychiatry. In his first year at Harvard, Krauthammer was injured in a diving board accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down and required him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
“I don’t like when they make a big thing about it,” he said of his disability in a 1984 interview. “And the worst thing is when they tell me how courageous I am. That drives me to distraction.”
Krauthammer excelled in psychiatry, earning top honors at Harvard and later publishing award-winning psychiatric research on the origins of mania. Despite his successes in the field, he said he didn’t enjoy the work and began transitioning into the media world just a few years after earning his medical degree.
“I’ve had a very checkered, irregular career. ... I just had a tug, a feeling that there was a wider world out there I wanted to get involved in,” he reflected in a 2005 C-SPAN interview.
In addition to his contributions to The Washington Post and Fox News, Krauthammer helped plan psychiatric research under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, worked as an editor and writer at The New Republic, and gained national recognition as a columnist for Time magazine.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Krauthammer graduated from Harvard Medical School with a degree in psychiatry. He received an M.D. from Harvard, while his residency after Harvard was in psychiatry.