Richard HolbrookeU.S. Diplomat Richard Holbrooke died today at the age of 69. Holbrook was admitted to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC last Friday after feeling ill, and doctors performed surgery on Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta.
Holbrooke worked as a journalist and an investment banker, but he is most known for his work as a diplomat. Holbrooke served under every Democratic president from John F. Kennedy to Obama. He was a member of the US delegation to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam, he served as a special envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo, and he most recently served under the Obama administration in the Afghan-Pakistani war zone.
According to the Los Angles Times, he was "renowned for his ruthless negotiating style, which earned him such nicknames as 'The Bulldozer' and 'Raging Bull.'" And former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said, "If Richard calls you and asks you for something, just say yes. If you say no, you'll eventually get to yes, but the journey will be very painful."
Here's what some prominent people have been saying about his death.
President Obama praised Holbrooke earlier today during a holiday reception: "Richard Holbrooke has been serving this nation with distinction for nearly 50 years -- from a young foreign service officer in Vietnam to the architect of the accords that ended the slaughter in the Balkans, to advancing our regional efforts as our Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and countless crises and hot spots in between. He is simply one of the giants of American foreign policy."
After his death, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying the nation had lost "one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants."
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said: "He was always a man on a mission, the toughest mission, and that mission was waging peace through tough as nails, never quit diplomacy -- and Richard's life's work saved tens of thousands of lives."
Our condolences to Richard Holbrooke's family.
Image via Alex Wong/Getty