Donald Rumsfeld, who served as US secretary of defence under president George W Bush and was an architect of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has died at the age of 88, his family says.
"It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico," the statement said.
"History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country."
Rumsfeld had served as secretary of defence twice: first from 1975 to 1977 under Gerald Ford and then from 2001 to 2006, playing a major role in the country's military response to the September 11 attacks.
Rumsfeld was a polarising figure
During his second tour at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld became a polarising figure.
As the US became mired in the war in Iraq, he was known for both his uncompromising policies and his inflammatory statements toward the domestic opposition and about foreign allies and foes alike.
Rumsfeld's career in Washington DC began in 1963 when he was elected to the House of Representatives from the state of Illinois.
He went on to serve in the administration of Richard Nixon, and then Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford.
He left government to enter the private sector, where he remained until he was tapped by Bush to lead the US Defense Department.