WASHINGTON, DC—Public affairs veteran Tony Blankley, a Republican strategist and commentator who most recently served as executive vice president for public affairs in Edelman’s Washington, DC, office, has died at 63. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Blankley came to prominence as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

Earlier, Blankley spent six years in the Reagan administration in a variety of positions, including speechwriter and senior policy analyst.

Later, he served as editorial page editor of The Washington Times and in recent years wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided political commentary for CNN, NBC and NPR, as well as serving as a regular panelist on "The McLaughlin Group." He was also the author of two books and a visiting senior fellow in national security communications at the Heritage Foundation.

According to Rob Rehg, president of the Edelman Washington office: "Tony's integrity, intellect and mastery of history and politics enriched our lives. He brightened our world with his colorful sartorial style, good humor and wonderful story telling. He was someone who truly fit the definition of a scholar and a gentleman. We were blessed to have had his wisdom, generous spirit and good company as part of our work family. We will miss him terribly."

Born in London, Blankley moved to California with his parents as a child and became a naturalized American citizen.