The father of modern conservatism died while at work in his study. He had suffered from emphysema. Buckley began his distinguished and varied career when conservative ideas were extremely unpopular and managed to build a thriving political movement. Buckley recently raised eyebrows by breaking with President Bush and challenging his conservative credentials.
Los Angeles Times:
An urbane and charming pundit with a lacerating wit and intellect, Buckley was, virtually alone, the public face of American political conservatism in the 1960s and ‘70s. His ardent friends and admirers came to include a California governor, Ronald Reagan, who sought Buckley’s counsel frequently during his campaign and presidency, calling him “perhaps the most influential journalist and intellectual in our era.”
Buckley also inspired generations of conservatives, who now fill think tanks and write for National Review—which he launched in 1955—and the Weekly Standard and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.
“It’s not lonely the way it was 45 years ago,” Buckley said in an interview with The Times a few years ago, “when there was really nothing, certainly no journal of opinion on conservative thought. There are tons of people here now.”