Paul H. O'Neill, who served as Treasury Secretary during President George W. Bush's first term before being fired in December 2002 over his disagreement with the administration's tax policy, died Saturday, his son confirmed to CBS News. He was 84.
His son, Paul O'Neill Jr., said his father died while at his home in Pittsburgh after years of a long battle with lung cancer, which included a few surgeries and chemotherapy. He said his father's death was not due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, O'Neill received his Master's in Public Administration from the Indiana University-Bloomington. A multimillionaire as a result of his work in the private sector, O'Neill was the CEO and head of aluminum giant Alcoa prior to his short-lived run with the Bush administration
Known as someone not afraid to speak his mind, the blunt-spoken O'Neill went on to write an explosive book "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill" detailing his time with the administration shortly after his departure. The book included allegations that the administration began planning an overthrow of President Saddam Hussein soon after Mr. Bush took office.
O'Neill is survived by his wife Nancy and four children, Patricia, Margaret, Julie and son Paul Jr.
Current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin posted his condolences to the family on Twitter Saturday afternoon.
"Saddened to hear of the passing of the former 72nd Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill. He served @USTreasury and America with distinction during challenging times. My condolences to his family," Mnuchin wrote.