Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer says he is in the final stages of cancer. He informed readers on Friday in a short note on The Washington Post website. “I leave this life with no regrets,” Krauthammer wrote in his farewell message.
Krauthammer has been a columnist with The Washington Post since 1984, and is also a longtime commentator on Fox News. Last August Krauthammer went on leave from both jobs after doctors found a cancerous tumor in his abdomen.
Krauthammer says a surgery to remove the tumor resulted in many secondary complications. Until just a few weeks ago, however, he thought he had successfully fought the cancer. Last month Fox News anchor Bret Baier delivered a message from Krauthammer: “The worst now appears to be behind me.”
In his The Washington Post message, Krauthammer said the cancer had returned, “I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me … This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”
Krauthammer had successfully battled other life challenges – in his first year of Harvard Medical School, a swimming pool accident left him a quadriplegic. He went on to graduate in 1975, and serve as chief psychiatry resident at Mass General Hospital. In 1978 Krauthammer began directing planning psychiatric research in the Carter administration, where he also worked as a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale. While in Washington he began writing for The New Republic, Time magazine, and The Washington Post.
“It was a wonderful life,” Krauthammer wrote Friday, “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.”
He thanked readers, television viewers, and colleagues who have “given consequence to my life’s work.”
“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking,” Krauthammer wrote, “I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”
Krauthammer’s announcement prompted tributes from his colleagues, journalists, and political leaders.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox news, said, “Charles has been a profound source of personal and intellectual inspiration for all of us at Fox News. His always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world, a world that has too many superficial thinkers vulnerable to the ebb and flow of fashion, and a world that, unfortunately, has only one Charles Krauthammer.”
“His words, his ideas, his dignity and his integrity will resonate within our society and within me for many, many years to come.”
Fox News analyst Brit Hume, wrote on Twitter, “The news that Charles Krauthammer’s condition is terminal is heartbreaking. Beyond the brilliance of his analysis and the paralysis he so remarkably overcame, there is his extraordinary personal grace and kindness. I have missed him very much. I always will.”
Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted, “Karen and I were saddened to learn that Charles Krauthammer, a man we greatly admire, is nearing the end of his extraordinary life. His wit, his wisdom, and his tireless defense of Western values have made an indelible mark on the minds of millions of Americans.”
Tom Friedman, a columnist from The New York Times, said, Krauthammer will be missed. “Charles Krauthammer. I often disagreed with him. I never missed reading him. One of the best in our profession. Shalom, Shalom. Tom”