PITTSBURGH (AP) — Paul O’Neill, a former Treasury secretary who broke with George W. Bush over tax policy and then produced a book critical of the administration, died Saturday. He was 84.
O’Neill’s son, Paul O’Neill Jr. confirmed that his father died at his home in Pittsburgh after battling lung cancer for the last couple of years. After a few surgeries and chemotherapy, he decided against any further intervention four or five months ago, he said.
“There was some family here and he died peacefully,” he said. “Based on his situation it was a good exit.”
A former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, O’Neill served as Treasury secretary from 2001 to late 2002. He was forced to resign after he objected to a second round of tax cuts because of their impact on deficits.
After leaving the administration, O’Neill worked with author Ron Suskind on an explosive book covering his two years in the administration. O’Neill contended that the administration began planning the overthrow of Iraq President Saddam Hussein right after Bush took office, eight months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.