Kirk O'Donnell, a prominent Washington lawyer who once served as chief counsel to U.S. House Speaker Thomas ``Tip' O'Neill Jr., has died. He was 52.
O'Donnell died Sept. 5 after collapsing while jogging near his Scituate, Mass., summer home.The White House issued a statement from President Clinton: ``Kirk O'Donnell was a gentleman and patriot who brought wit, common sense, and a genuine humanity to his public work and private life. He was a very good man and left us much too soon.'
O'Donnell was born in Boston and graduated from Boston Latin School, Brown University and Suffolk Law School. He taught history at Somerset (Mass.) High School, then took a job with Mayor Kevin White of Boston and ran White's successful re-election campaign.
O'Donnell worked for O'Neill for eight years, gaining a reputation as a skilled strategist and adviser. After leaving the Speaker's office, O'Donnell was president of the Center for National Policy, a political think tank.
During his career, O'Donnell held key Democratic positions, including White House adviser. O'Donnell also served as an adviser to the 1988 presidential campaign of former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis.
As a senior partner in the Washington-based firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, O'Donnell represented such clients as Liberty Mutual and the government of Puerto Rico.