Paul O’Neil, the former Treasurer Secretary under President George W. Bush, has died at age 84 after battling lung cancer, his family announced Saturday.
His son Paul Jr. confirmed that his father died at his home in Pittsburgh after deciding against any further intervention and treatment. “There was some family here and he died peacefully,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
O’Neill was a former chairman of aluminum giant Alcoa, the world’s biggest aluminum manufacturer, and caused controversy when he took the job of Treasury chief in 2001.
He resigned in late 2002 after objecting to another round of Bush tax cuts. He later wrote a book critical of the administration. The book depicted Bush as a disengaged president, and that decisions were often made by Bush’s political team and Vice President Dick Cheney, who had recruited O’Neil.
After leaving office, O’Neill resumed working with the Pittsburgh Regional Health Care Initiative, a consortium of hospitals, medical societies and businesses studying ways to improve health care delivery in Western Pennsylvania.
He also devoted time in retirement to projects that would deliver clean drinking water to Africa. As Treasury secretary, O’Neill had focused attention on poverty and combating diseases such as AIDS in Africa, touring the continent with Irish rock star Bono.
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