Conservative leader Paul Weyrich passed away today at 66.  My friend Rob Bluey has the tribute at Heritage Foundation:

Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of The Heritage Foundation, died this morning around 1 a.m. He was 66 years old. Weyrich was a good friend to many of us at Heritage, a true leader and a man of unbending principle. He won Heritage’s prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Award in 2005.

Weyrich will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, including son Steve, who currently works at Heritage.

Weyrich began his career in Wisconsin, where he led the Young Republican chapter in Racine while attending the University of Wisconsin.  He became a political reporter after graduation, but quickly became involved in political action instead.  Weyrich worked as press secretary for Republican Senator Gordon Allott of Colorado, but wanted to work on public policy. He joined with Ed Fuelner to create Heritage Foundation, and a year later launched the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress.

He spent four decades as an uncompromising and often controversial figure in American politics, fighting for conservatism and helping to expand its intellectual base.  He will indeed be missed, but his work in establishing Heritage has helped launch thousands of conservative activists who will carry on his work.