President George W. Bush issued a statement this weekend saying he and his wife, Laura Bush, were “really saddened” by the death of former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Conservative political commentator Tony Snow, who served briefly as White House Press Secretary under Bush, died at the age of 53 on Saturday after a long battle with colon cancer.

“We had some bad news this weekend,” President Bush said in a statement to the press issued by the White House Press Office.

“Our good friend Tony Snow passed away. Tony, you know, worked with us and made a lot of friends in the White House, and Laura and I are – we’re really saddened by his death.”

Snow, who had had been battling a recurrence of colon cancer since March, 2007, died early on Saturday morning.

He is survived by his wife, Jill Ellen Walker Snow, and their three children.

Robert Anthony Snow was named as White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush in April, 2006 to replace Scott McClellan.

Snow also worked with George H. W. Bush as a chief speechwriter and Deputy Assistant of Media Affairs.

“I came to know Tony as a very smart and capable man,” President Bush said in his statement.

“He had good values. He was an honest guy. You know, he had a wonderful sense of humour. He loved to laugh, he loved his country, and he loved his family.”

Previous to his appointment as White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow served as the first host of Fox News Sunday and later hosted his own conservative radio programme, The Tony Snow Show, on Fox News Radio.

In the past, he had worked for such media outlets as USA Today, The Detroit News, The Washington Times and National Public Radio.

He had most recently joined CNN in April, 2008 as a political commentator.

Snow was first diagnosed with colon cancer in February 2005 and underwent surgery to remove his colon, followed by six months of chemotherapy.

Snow’s mother died of colon cancer in 1973 when he was only 17-years-old.

After treatment, Snow returned to work and appeared in remission for several years.

He was often spotted wearing a yellow Live Strong bracelet from the Lance Armstrong Foundation at press briefings. It was announced in March, 2007 that Snow’s cancer had returned.

Snow eventually stepped down from his position as White House Press Secretary in September, though he claimed at the time it was not because of his ongoing illness.

Instead, he said he had “ran out of money” because the position did not pay enough and that he needed to go back to the private sector to earn money to support his family.

Snow died early on Saturday morning at Georgetown University Hospital. According to ABC News, Snow had been hospitalised for several weeks.

“…Our thoughts are with Jill and the three children now as they deal with their grief,” President Bush’s statement continued.

“We went to church this morning at Camp David and I prayed for Jill and the family, that they would have – find comfort and strength during this tough time for them.”

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