Robert Novak Dies After Battle With Brain Cancer

CHICAGO (AP) -- 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, Geraldine Novak, tells the Chicago Sun-Times that he died at his home in Washington on Tuesday. He was 78.

Novak was long known as the co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and had been a columnist for the 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' 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.

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