The Washington Post has published a statement written by Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a public intellectual and titan of conservative thought whose absence from the national conversation over the last ten months has been felt deeply by his readers and Fox News viewers. One of the questions I regularly field as I travel across the country is, "do you know when Charles is coming back?" Despite hearing occasional whispers or updates around Fox's DC bureau, my answer to that question has always been honest; it's gone something like, I don't know, but I'm praying he recovers and returns soon. Aside from one optimistic missive late last year, Krauthammer himself has remained silent on his status as he's fought through some daunting health challenges in private. Until today. This is nothing short of heartbreaking:
I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.
In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications — which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health. However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. 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.
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.
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.
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.
The man is a giant. He's an exceptional writer and thinker whose contributions to our political discourse were unfailingly even-tempered, always deeply-informed and uniquely incisive, and often drew on his sharp, understated wit. His smash bestseller, Things That Matter, is a must-read anthology of his work that will stand the test of time. His weekly columns were required reading for some of the most influential politicians and commentators in the country. His permanent seat on Special Report's nightly panel has never been adequately filled -- and likely never will be -- in his absense. This is exactly right:
In an era when anybody with a keyboard can vent their opinion, it's hard to say any pundit is irreplaceable. But that's the word I keep thinking about when I process the sad @krauthammer news. He is literally irreplaceable.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) June 8, 2018
It's too soon so say 'Rest in Peace' to the great Dr. K. May he and his family be in your prayers as they process this awful prognosis and search for peace. And may he have the chance to read and appreciate the outpouring of love, respect and admiration he's engendered among so many before he passes away. Heartsick, I'll leave you with perhaps my all-time favorite Krauthammer essay, frivolous as it may seem.