Conservative Leader Paul Weyrich Dies at 66

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Paul Weyrich, the conservative activist who coined the phrase "moral majority" and served as a key leader of the religious right, died early Thursday morning at age 66.

Weyrich co-founded the Heritage Foundation in 1973 as a think-tank for conservative policies and also served as chairman of the Free Congress Foundation.

Cause of death is still unknown, but Weyrich's health had been declining over recent years. He injured his spine in 1996, and suffered from diabetes, which led to both of his legs being amputated at the knee in 2005.

 For more reaction to Weyrich's death, click here.  To read some of Weyrich's most recent columns click here and here.

Despite his health, Weyrich continued work for the conservative movement, also writing several political columns.

"We've watched Paul for decades as he battled diabetes, as he suffered amputations, but never, never any loss of his fighting spirit," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

"He fathered the religious conservative movement in American politics. He didn't over-intellectualize about Christians "jumping into the fray." He recognized early that the fray had jumped onto us," he added.

Weyrich's last column was published, Thursday, on the CNS News website.  He also recently wrote several entries for the FCF website.

The Heritage Foundation called Weyrich "a true leader and a man of unbending principle."

Weyrich is survived by his wife, Joyce, and their five children.

Sources: Washington Post, Associated Press, Heritage Foundation

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