Former Secretary Of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Dies

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld died Wednesday at age 88, his family announced.

“History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country,” the Rumsfeld family said in a statement.

Rumsfeld became the youngest Secretary of Defense when the Senate confirmed him to the position in 1975. He previously served as Chief of Staff to President Gerald Ford.

After serving four years in the Navy as an active-duty pilot, Rumsfeld served as a congressional staffer. He would later win election and serve three terms as a Republican representing Illinois’ 13th District. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1989 as a captain.

Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense again in 2001, when President George W. Bush nominated him. He led the U.S.’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and was a leading advocate of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (RELATED: Donald Rumsfeld Shuts Down Joy Behar Over Election Results With Two Words)

Rumsfeld was one of 50 Bush administration alumni to endorse then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. The group included former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.