Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and former White House speechwriter William Safire has passed away. Safire, who had been diagnosed with cancer, was 79 when he died Saturday in a Maryland hospice.

The award-winning writer wrote the “On Language” column in The New York Times Magazine, and boasted an Op-Ed column in The New York Times for 32 years. The conservative Safire, who wrote over 3,000 columns, often butted heads with politicians like former President Bill Clinton, and spent much of his career writing about civil liberties and Israel. Safire also authored 15 books, and served as a speechwriter in the Nixon White House. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1978 for his columns criticizing former President Jimmy Carter’s budget director Bert Lance.