Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Dies From Multiple Myeloma

Donald Rumsfeld, who died from multiple myeloma, served as secretary of defense under Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George W. Bush.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as secretary of defense for Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George W. Bush, died at age 88 from multiple myeloma, according to a spokesperson for the family.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather,” according to a statement from Rumsfeld’s family. “At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”

During his tenure with President Ford, he was the youngest and second-oldest defense secretary. Rumsfeld led Cold War strategies in addition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, he directed the al Qaeda attacks and years of foreign involvements.

Of note, Rumsfeld died the week when President Joe Biden was expected to complete the country’s involvement in the Afghanistan conflict, of which Rumsfeld initiated and is considered the U.S.’ longest war.

“History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country,” according to the family’s statement.

President George W. Bush released a statement upon Rumsfeld’s death. He said that Rumsfeld “never paled before tough decisions and never flinched from responsibility. He brought needed and timely reforms to the Department of Defense, along with a management style that stressed original thinking and accountability.”

“Don Rumsfeld was a remarkable and committed public servant,” Condoleezza Rice, 66th secretary of state, wrote on Twitter. “He was also a good friend and a steady presence throughout the many trials of the post-9/11 world. I will miss him as a colleague and as a friend. Joyce and the family will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Dr. Lynne Cheney also issued a statement in response to Rumsfeld’s death. They wrote, “In the Navy, in Congress, at the Pentagon and at the White House, Don’s unwavering belief in the greatness of this country was always evident. During some of our nation’s most serious challenges, he was entrusted by presidents to help guide (America) through turbulent times. He did so with strength and resolve that came to embody who he was as a person.”

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.