Tony Snow, Former U.S. White House spokesman, died early Saturday of colon cancer at the age of 53.
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend, Tony Snow,” U.S. President George W. Bush said in a statement.
“The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father, and America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character.”
Before joining the Bush administration in April 2006, Tony Snow served as the first host of the Fox TV’s program “Fox News Sunday” and speech writer for former president George W. H. Bush.
“It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work. His colleagues will cherish memories of his energetic personality and relentless good humor,” Bush said.
Snow has been suffering with colon cancer for years. In 2005, doctors removed his colon and he began six months of chemotherapy. In March 2007 there was more cancer in his abdominal area, which was also removed, followed by five weeks of recuperating.
Snow resigned as Bush’s chief spokesman six months later, in September 2007, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post. In April, he joined CNN as a commentator.
In that year and a half at the White House, Snow brought his zeal, and the skills of a seasoned performer to the task of explaining and defending the president’s policies. During briefings, Snow challenged reporters, scolded them and questioned their motives as if he were in the show, “West Wing”.
Critics suggested that Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.
Although a star in conservative politics, as a commentator he had not always been on the president’s side. He once called Bush “something of an embarrassment” in conservative circles and criticized what he called Bush’s “lackluster” domestic policy.
Snow, whose full name was Robert Anthony Snow, was born on June 1, 1955, in Berea, Kentucky. He and his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, had three children.