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US Conservative Columnist Robert Novak Dies

Conservative political commentator Robert Novak has died after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was 78 years old.

Family members say Novak died at his home in Washington Tuesday. He had retired from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper last year to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.

Doctors discovered Novak had a brain tumor last year, after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident. Novak struck a pedestrian with his car and initially failed to stop.

He had worked for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades and was a commentator on CNN for 25 years, including as a host on the political talk show Crossfire.

Novak sparked a scandal when, in 2003, he used his syndicated column to reveal the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused Bush administration officials of leaking his wife's identity after he had criticized the administration's use of intelligence in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

The scandal led to the conviction of then-Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. Novak, who cooperated with the special prosecutor investigating the leak, was not charged in the case.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.