American Jewish groups mourned the passing of renowned conservative columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer, who passed away from small intestine cancer on June 21 at the age of 68.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center mourns the passing of brilliant, passionate, irrepressible Charles Krauthammer. He overcame a horrific injury to his body. It never damaged his soul. America has lost him just when we need a strong dose of his integrity most. His memory will always be a blessing,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of the Global Social Agenda.

Born in New York in 1950 to Jewish parents from Europe, Krauthammer spent most of his childhood living in Canada until returning to the United States to attend Harvard Medical School.

It was during his first year of there when he became paralyzed after diving into a swimming pool with friends.

He nevertheless completed medical school and a residency in psychiatry, where he did pioneering research into bipolar disorder, before becoming a renowned commentator, columnist and public intellectual during the 1980s. During that time, he became a strong supporter of President Ronald Reagan, and first coined the phrase “Reagan Doctrine” to describe the president’s strong anti-Communist foreign policy.

Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize winner, went on to become a regular columnist for The Washington Post, Time magazine, The New Republic and The Weekly Standard. His syndicated columns also appeared in more than 125 newspapers around the world. He also regularly appeared as a guest commentator and panelist on the Fox News Channel.

The American Jewish Committee, which had previously honored him with the AJC award, also noted Krauthammer’s steadfast support for Israel over the years.

“Charles Krauthammer’s trenchant analyses of critical international issues, including his eloquent defense of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, were hallmarks of his remarkable writings, speeches and media appearances,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “He was a consistent and highly respected voice of conscience and integrity.”