WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has died, his family announced on Wednesday. He was 88.
Rumsfeld, who served under George W. Bush, was surrounded by family at his home in New Mexico.
“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 family said in the statement.
Regarded by former colleagues as equally smart and combative, patriotic and politically cunning, Rumsfeld had a storied career under four presidents and nearly a quarter century in corporate America.
Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977. In 2001 he began his second tour as Pentagon chief under President George W. Bush, but his plan to “transform” the armed forces was overshadowed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
He oversaw the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, where he was blamed for setbacks including the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and for being slow to recognize a violent insurgency.
He leaves behind a wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.