Jody Powell, who served as White House press secretary under President Jimmy Carter, died Monday of a heart attack, The Associated Press reports. He was 65.
Powell was a member of Carter’s trusted inner circle even before he arrived in Washington, D.C., to serve the White House. He first worked with Carter during his campaign for governor in Georgia the 1960s and joined Carter's presidential campaign in 1976. He served as chief White House spokesman from 1977 to 1981.
Powell collapsed at his home near Cambridge, on Maryland’s eastern shore, AP reports. He had been gathering firewood with a friend, according to a Jack Nelson, a retired reporter and close friend. Powell had a previous heart attack in the early or mid-1990s, according to AP. In a statement, Carter described death as "a great personal loss," adding that "I will miss him dearly."
"Jody was beside me in every decision I made as a candidate, governor and president and I could always depend on his advice and counsel being candid and direct," Carter said. "No one worked more closely with me than Jody."
After leaving the White House, Powell became one of the founders of the Powell Tate public relations firm in Washington.