01/08/2012 02:59 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2012

Tony Blankley Dead: Newt Gingrich's Former Press Secretary Dies At 63

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and Newt Gingrich's former press secretary, passed away on Sunday, according to the Washington Times. The 63-year-old had been battling stomach cancer.

Most recently, he served as an executive vice president at Edelman, a public relations firm. During his long career in politics and media, he also ran the editorial page at the Washington Times, worked for President Ronald Reagan and was a regular guest on the The McLaughlin Group.

Friends and followers expressed deep sympathy on Twitter. The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty wrote, "Tony Blankley will be missed. What a life: child actor, prosecutor and Washington power player. And a really, really funny man." Fox News' Bret Baier called him a "good man."

Blankley had three children with his wife, Dr. Lynda Davis.

More from The Associated Press:

Born in London, Blankley moved to California with his parents as a child and became a naturalized American citizen. He worked as a child actor in the 1950s, appearing in such TV shows as "Lassie" and "Highway Patrol" and playing Rod Steiger's son in the movie "The Harder They Fall."

Before entering politics, he spent 10 years as a prosecutor with the California attorney general's office.

Below, the media reacts to Tony Blankley's death: