Tony Blankley, press secretary to Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and a conservative author and commentator, died in Washington on Saturday after a bout with stomach cancer, according to the Associated Press. He was 63.
Blankley, a former prosecutor, worked with Gingrich from 1990 to 1997, a period during which Republicans engineered a historic takeover of the House and Gingrich became Speaker.
Prior to his work with Gingrich, Blankley held several positions in the Reagan administration. Later, from 2002 to 2007, he was the editorial page editor at The Washington Times, the Associated Press reported.
Tony was a very, very dear friend, a great colleague," Gingrich said from the campaign trail, adding that "He was a great human being, he was a caring and loving person, he was a tremendous amnount of fun, remarkably erudite and educated and we will all miss him deeply."
More recently, Blankley was a commentator for CNN, NPR, and NBC. He also wrote a syndicated newspaper column; was the author of two books; and served as a visiting senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
As a child, Blankley worked as an actor, appearing in television shows such as “Lassie” and “Highway Patrol,” as well as the movie “The Harder They fall,” which was Humphrey Bogart’s final film, the Associated Press reported.
Blankley is survived by his wife, Lynda Davis, and three children.