Robert Novak, the legendary syndicated columnist and longtime cohost of CNN’s Crossfire, died at his home in Washington from brain cancer today, according to the Associated Press. He was 78.

The journalist, nicknamed “the Prince of Darkness” for his unabashed conservative views, pitbull pessimism, and take-no-prisoners brand of political commentary, began working for the Associated Press in Washington in 1957, followed by a stint at The Wall Street Journal, and then, in 1962, a partnership with Rowland Evans, which eventually led to a slot on the fledgling CNN cohosting the political talk show, Evans and Novak. The sparring cable shows Crossfire and The Capital Gang followed.

Despite his long career reporting stories about Washington players, Novak became the story himself in 2003 when, acting on a tip, he revealed the name of C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame, which led to a lengthy criminal investigation.