Conservative columnist and former CNN “Crossfire” co-host Robert Novak has died after a yearlong battle with cancer, his family announced Tuesday. He was 78.


Robert Novak was a syndicated columnist who was a regular on CNN for 25 years.

Novak retired in August 2008 after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

He was a longtime columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a regular commentator for CNN for 25 years, beginning when the network launched in 1980.

For most of that time, he was a co-host of the political debate program “Crossfire.”

In 2003, he found himself at the center of the scandal over the exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, when he published a column revealing her status days after her husband challenged a key Bush administration justification for the invasion of Iraq.

The scandal ultimately led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice and lying to investigators probing the leak.

Novak cooperated with a special prosecutor and was not charged in the case.