Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter reportedly suffered a heart attack on Monday evening, according to members of his family. He was 68. The heart attack was triggered due to old age and stress. Carter served as the head of the Defense Department under President Obama for a span of two years, from 2015 to 2017. He was a native of Philadelphia, having been born and raised there. He served in a number of additional top leadership posts in the Pentagon throughout the course of five different administrations.
On Tuesday, his family issued a statement in which they referred to Carter’s passing as a “sudden loss.” According to what they said, “Secretary Carter enjoyed nothing more than spending time with the military, making multiple travels to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit with U.S. personnel with his wife, Stephanie.” Carter was well-known for his expertise in a variety of fields, including international affairs, nuclear weapons, and military technology.
During his tenure as defense secretary, Jimmy Carter is most well known for his famous demand that women be allowed to serve in all branches of the armed forces, including combat roles. Before making their ultimate decision, military officers spent years conducting research on the issue, during which time they were subjected to intense criticism from various conservative groups.
Ellen Lord, an ex assistant secretary of state of defense for obtaining and support and maintenance and defense executive, said in a May interview with Defense News, “It goes back to Ash Carter.” Carter had served as the head of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Harvard since 2017. According to Carter’s relatives, “his most significant legacy will be the thousands of pupils he taught in the hopes that they can contribute to a better and safer place”