Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist is No More
Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and one of the nation's most influential conservative commentators, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 68.
Krauthammer frequently graced television screens across America on Fox News with his adept analysis in politics, many times leaving others on battering panels without any way to top his graceful intellect.
He wrote a weekly column in the The Washington Post, where he had worked since 1984, and won journalism's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, in 1987 for offering both a "witty and insightful" take on national politics that helped deepen understanding of political discourse.
His conservative voice had been absent for months as he recovered after having an abdominal tumor removed. Krauthammer told his readers and viewers in June there were complications and an aggressive form of cancer had returned.
Delivering the news in The Washington Post, Krauthammer said his doctors estimated he only had weeks to live. "This is the final verdict. My fight is over."
"I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and the rigorous argument is a noble undertaking," he wrote. "I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation's destiny."
His Fox News colleague Chris Wallace hailed his honesty as "brave" and "graceful," talking about his life as one of "passion and great consequence."
"You couldn't read or listen to a Charles commentary and not learn from it, and not be stunned by how gracefully and beautifully and forcefully it was written," Wallace said after learning his friend had only a short time left. "I want you to know I love you. I flatter myself to consider and feel so honored to consider myself a colleague of yours. You are a great man."
But Krauthammer's path to becoming one of the top influential conservative voices over the last few decades, respected on both sides of the aisle, was a difficult and challenging one that many wouldn't have been able to conquer.
When Krauthammer was 22 and a Harvard medical school student, he was paralyzed in a diving accident. He hit his head at the bottom of a pool, severing his spinal cord and leaving him a quadriplegic.
But the accident didn't stop him. He continued studying, even being taught while on bedrest with lessons projected on the ceiling. Krauthammer graduated in 1975 and went on to make contributions to psychiatry, including co-publishing a groundbreaking paper on bipolar disorder
He moved to Washington several years later and helped guide psychiatric research in President Jimmy Carter's administration. That guided his path to politics, later becoming a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale.
He soon started writing for various publications, including The New Republic and Time magazine. At Time, he coined the phrase the "Reagan Doctrine" in a famed essay that applauded and explained Reagan's strategy with the Soviet Union after the Cold War.
He ended up at The Washington Post in 1984, writing a column that would publish every Friday. Eventually, his words became syndicated, appearing in 400 publications worldwide.
He was a weekly panelist for years for PBS news, then joined Fox News as a contributor, later becoming a nightly fixture on "Special Report with Bret Baier."
"Everything he said, he was like an op-ed every time he talked," Baier said on Fox News after Krauthammer told the world of his terminal cancer. "That was organic. That was Charles. It was not staged. That's how he thought things through.
He said he was glad Krauthammer, normally a private person, shared the news before his death because he got to see "how much the world loves him and how much he changed the world."
Being confined to a wheelchair didn't stop him from living life. He was a crazed Washington Nationals fan who would drive to games every time he could in a van specially outfitted for him, using hand controls for steering and speed.
The team honored him with a moment of silence before Thursday night's game and tweeted the team's appreciation for his support.