I have admired Charles Krauthammer since I first heard him speak on a television news program years ago. He said something to the effect that both Democrats and Republicans were idiots. He believed political extremism from any source was a plague. This was noteworthy at a time when most citizens and the preponderance of journalists were fiercely on one side or the other of the political spectrum.

I liked what he said then and for years to come not because I always agreed with him, but because he held fast to the same principles of journalism that were pounded into me in J school at the University of Missouri. “Verify, verify, verify” was our mantra back then. And, “if in doubt, leave it out.”

I also admired the man because of his bulldog approach to a diverse life that had an incredible number of moving parts. He studied economics and political science at McGill University in Montreal, expanded his world view of politics during a fellowship stint at Oxford, only to return to the United States to study, of all things, medicine at Harvard.

During his first year at Harvard he broke his back in a diving accident which left him permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Despite being hospitalized for the next14 months, Krauthammer continued his medical studies, became a certified psychiatrist, and over the next few years while confined to a wheelchair, pioneered new advances in the treatment of mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder.

His achievements gained him an assignment planning psychiatric studies in Washington, DC under the Carter administration, a move that bounced him back into the political arena. He started writing political pieces for the New Republic and later, essays for Time magazine. He ultimately became a columnist for the Washington Post and a commentator on NPR. His work for the Post earned him a Pulitzer Prize. In recent years manny of us have enjoyed his wisdom on Fox news.

Although much of what he said was his personal opinion, it was always reasonable and solidly based on facts. He steadfastly refused to define himself as either a liberal or a conservative, and instead measured human endeavors and his own responses with the yardstick of common sense.

And now we learn Charles Krauthammer has died of cancer. It’s not fair. Our crazy world desperately needs a common sense spokesman. He was among the best and he will be sorely missed.