The former Democrat who emerged as a leading conservative voice influenced American thought through words and inspired millions by living an exemplary life.
Charles Krauthammer, known to causal viewers as a sharp-minded, wheelchair-bound conservative Fox News contributor, proved each day of his life that nothing can hold back American greatness. As the 68-year-old goes into that good night, his adherence to a code that values free, honest and open debate stands the test of time.
In an open letter to friends, colleagues and the general public, Krauthammer recently revealed that he had only weeks remaining. Notably missing as a Fox News contributor and political analyst for nearly a year, he had been recovering from a tumor that was removed from his abdomen. The surgery set off a series of secondary health challenges and the now-aggressive cancer has returned.
“My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” Krauthammer writes.
His encompassing letter resonates with the firm dignity that molded him into one of journalism’s giants.
“I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months. And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing,” his farewell letter states. “Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”
A young Charles Krauthammer was a rising star. He was the picture of health, on track to graduate from Harvard Medical, Class of 1975. Flowing long dark hair, the strapping 6’1” med student suffered a freak accident that would profoundly alter the course of his life.
After returning from a freshmen spring break to Bermuda, Krauthammer and a friend plunged into a campus pool. His head struck the pool floor, severing his spine. His dream of becoming a surgeon was dashed. Krauthammer barely survived drowning, and would never walk again.
“There were two books on the side of the pool when they picked up my effects,” he recalls. “One was The Anatomy of the Spinal Cord and the other’s Man’s Fate by Andre Malraux. Quite a choice.”
After more than a year in recovery from the spinal cord injury, Krauthammer returned to Harvard and shifted his focus to psychiatry. He contributes to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III” — or DSM III. He completed his goal at Harvard despite paralysis.
His psychiatric work earned him a residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He rose to chief resident before relocating to Washington, D.C., to work for the Carter Administration and later serve as speech writer for Democratic Vice President Walter Mondale.
In the 1980s, Krauthammer became a political columnist for flagship publications such as The New Republic, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, Time, Inside Washington and concludes his career as a syndicated columnist, Fox News contributor and Pulitzer Prize winner. Suffering a debilitating injury that would have left many emotional crippled. Krauthammer’s intellect ran fast and achieved.
“Charles has been a profound source of personal and intellectual inspiration for all of us at Fox News,” Rupert Murdoch said after learning of his imminent demise. “His always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world, a world that has too many superficial thinkers vulnerable to the ebb and flow of fashion, and a world that, unfortunately, has only one Charles Krauthammer.”
Modest and grateful for the rich life he built through determination, Krauthammer’s parting words serve as a measure of dignity.
“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”
~ Conservative Zone