Robert Novak, controversial conservative columnist, dies at 78

Robert Novak, the conservative columnist whose role in the Valerie Plame affair made him a focus of late-life controversy, has died of brain cancer at age 78.

Novak, known with backhanded affection to political buffs as "the Prince of Darkness," wrote a syndicated column, "Inside Report," that ran for decades in the Chicago Sun-Times. For 30 years, he co-wrote it with Rowland Evans Jr., then continued solo after Evans retired in 1993. Though a stalwart right-winger, Novak was known more for his well-sourced reporting than for his editorializing.