Ex-Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger dies at 80


Eagleburger, the only career foreign service officer to rise to the position of secretary of state, died in Charlottesville, Va., after a short illness, according to a family friend. No further details were immediately available.

Over 27 years in the foreign service, he served in the Nixon administration as executive assistant to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, as President Jimmy Carter's ambassador to Yugoslavia, and as an assistant secretary of state and then undersecretary of state in the first Reagan administration.

Two of his one-time bosses, former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, mourned the retired diplomat and praised his service.

Eagleburger was characterized as a straightforward diplomat whose exuberant style masked a hard-driving commitment to solving tangled foreign policy problems. Baker said Eagleburger was "as good as they come."

Eagleburger held the State Department's top post for five months under the first president Bush, stepping in after Baker resigned.

Born Aug. 1, 1930 to a Republican family in Milwaukee, Eagleburger graduated from the University of Wisconsin.

Baker said Eagleburger "was a legend in the U.S. Foreign Service, a consummate professional who served his country expertly and with great dignity as a selfless diplomat." He said his former colleague was "superb at divining trouble and heading it off. That's why he became the first Foreign Service officer in history to rise to deputy secretary of state and later to secretary of state. Simply stated, Larry Eagleburger was as good as they come - loyal, hard-working and intelligent, a trifecta for an American diplomat."

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