Conservative political columnist Robert Novak died at 78 after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

His wife of 47 years, Geraldine Novak, told The Associated Press that he died at his home in Washington, D.C. early Tuesday.

Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008 and had retired from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper last year to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.

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, a hard-nosed journalist in his long career, was famed as Prince of Darkness. He sparked a scandal in 2003 in which the Bush administration outing CIA operative Valerie Plame in order to discredit her diplomat husband, who was a critic of the Iraq War.