Charles W. Chuck Colson, who served as a special counsel to U.S. President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973, died of complications related to a brain hemorrhage on Saturday at 3:12 p.m. EDT, according to one of the two evangelical Christian organizations he founded. He was 80.
A Watergate figure who emerged from the country's worst political scandal [as] a vocal Christian leader and a champion for prison ministry, Colson spent the last years of his life in the dual role of leading Prison Fellowship, the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, and the Colson Center, a teaching and training center focused on Christian worldview thought and application, read a statement on the Colson Center online site.
Colson's actions in the Daniel Ellsberg affair during the Watergate era led to his pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. On June 21, 1974, Colson was fined $5,000 and given a prison sentence of one to three years. On Jan. 31, 1975, he was released. The same year, he founded the Prison Fellowship, as noted by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum online site.
Ellsberg released the so-called Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other newspapers.
Known as a bare-knuckle fighter in the political arena, Colson was the main author of the memo listing Nixon's major critics that became infamous as the then-president's Enemies List, as recalled by Reuters.
Colson is survived by his second wife, Patricia, and the three children he had with his first wife, Nancy, Reuters reported.