Columnist Robert Novak Dies

Political columnist Robert Novak, who was a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has died after a battle with brain cancer.

His wife of 47 years, Geraldine Novak, tells told Associated Press that he died at his home in Washington early Tuesday. He was 78.

Novak was long known as the co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and had been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian in downtown Washington with his Corvette and drove away.

In recent years, he was perhaps best known for being the first to publish Plame’s name. He came under withering criticism and abuse from many for that column, which Novak says began “a long and difficult episode” in his career.