Alexander Haig, who managed the Nixon administration during the Watergate crisis and served a controversial stint as secretary of state under President Reagan, died on Saturday. He was 85.
Haig died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, after he was admitted there on January 28, spokesman Gary Stephenson said.
"He served his country well. For that he should be remembered," said William Bennett, who was secretary of education during the Reagan administration. "He carried himself well. He carried himself with dignity and honor."
The White House issued a statement mourning Haig, saying he "exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service."
A top official in the administrations of three presidents -- Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan -- Haig served as Nixon's chief of staff during the Watergate political crisis, a scandal that dogged the administration in the 1970s.
"There was a time during the Watergate crisis when President Nixon was nearly incapacitated," said political analyst and CNN contributor David Gergen, who worked with Haig during the Nixon and Reagan administrations. "He had a hard time focusing, so obviously obsessed with the scandal and the gathering storms around him. I watched Al Haig keep the government moving. I thought it was a great act of statesmanship and service to the country."