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Former U.S. defense secretary Ash Carter dies at 68

Obama official helped launch military strategy that pushed back Islamic State

Ash Carter, while serving as U.S. defense secretary, attends a news conference during 2016 in London.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Ash Carter, who served as a U.S. defense secretary during President Barack Obama's administration, died late on Monday at the age of 68 after a sudden cardiac event, his family said in a statement on Tuesday.

A decades-long defense wonk who gradually ascended to the Pentagon's top job, Carter helped oversee the launch of a military strategy that would drive back the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq, and ultimately defeat the organization.

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