Former Defense Sec. Ashton Carter dead at 68 of ‘sudden cardiac arrest’

A once prominent member of former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, who had also served as an advisor to current President Joe Biden, passed away unexpectedly this week.

Former Defense Sec. Ashton Carter died Monday of “sudden cardiac arrest” at the age of 68, according to his family, the Conservative Brief reported.

Carter served as the head of the Pentagon and U.S. military under Obama from February 2015 until January 2017.

Former secretary of Defense has died

“As Secretary, he launched the successful campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, opened all combat positions to women, and forged new connections between the Department of Defense and the nation’s technology community,” Carter’s family said in a statement, according to ABC News.

“While he was known for his keen understanding of military technology, nuclear weapons, and international affairs, Secretary Carter loved nothing more than spending time with the troops, making frequent trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit U.S forces [with his wife Stephanie],” the family added.

Carter was a Yale-educated Rhodes Scholar who first joined the Defense Department under former President Bill Clinton and climbed up the ranks over the successive years until he reached the pinnacle as secretary after being picked by Obama to succeed outgoing Sec. Chuck Hagel.

Obama praises Carter’s leadership

Former President Obama issued a statement to “mourn the passing” of Carter and “celebrate” his accomplishments as a leader who left America — and the world — safer through his lifetime of service.”

“As president, I relied on Ash’s strategic counsel as we invested in innovation and a stronger, smarter, more humane, and more effective military for the long term,” Obama said. “Under his leadership, America accelerated its counterterrorism efforts, opened combat roles to women, modernized its weapons systems, and strengthened our alliances around the world.”

“Ash’s greatest legacy, however, may be the generations of younger leaders he taught, mentored, and inspired to protect our nation and wield power wisely,” the former president added.

Biden heralds Carter’s service

Also weighing in with a statement to mark Carter’s seemingly untimely death was President Biden, who described the former secretary as a man of “integrity” who was “honest” and “principled” and devoted to serving the public.

“Jill and I grieve with the entire Carter family, including Stephanie, Will, and Ava, and countless friends and colleagues across the world who are mourning this sudden loss of a great American,” Biden concluded. “Ash Carter was a great American of the utmost integrity. May God bless him. May God protect the troops Ash Carter served and loved.”

Latest News