Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has died after a “sudden cardiac event” at age 68, his family announced on Tuesday. Carter served under former President Barack Obama.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that the family of former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter shares that Secretary Carter passed away Monday evening in Boston after a sudden cardiac event at the age of 68,” his family’s statement read, according to Fox News.
“Carter, the 25th Secretary of Defense and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School, devoted his professional life to the national security of the United States and teaching students about international affairs. He was a beloved husband, father, mentor, and friend. His sudden loss will be felt by all who knew him,” it added.
According to the Defense Department’s website, Carter served as the 25th Secretary of Defense. Throughout his career, he served in both Democrat and Republican administrations.
“Whether in government, academia, or the private sector, Secretary Carter has been guided by pragmatism and his belief in the boundless opportunities of the United States and has worked tirelessly to contribute to the ideas, policies, and innovations that assure our global leadership,” the Defense Department’s website states.
Carter earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and medieval history at Yale University and later received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University. He was a physics instructor at Oxford, as well as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University and M.I.T..
Carter was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal five times throughout his career. He also received the Defense Intelligence Medal and the Joint Distinguished Service Medal from the Chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The former defense secretary is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and his two children, Ava and Will.
“As Director of the Belfer Center since 2017, Secretary Carter continued to teach and share his experience and knowledge with Harvard students. A Rhodes Scholar and theoretical physicist, Secretary Carter loved academia, teaching, and mentoring students. He believed that his most profound legacy would be the thousands of students he taught with the hope that they would make the world a better and safer place,” his family wrote.