Ex-defence chief Weinberger dies
Caspar Weinberger, who served as defence secretary under former US President Ronald Reagan, has died in hospital aged 88, his family said.
Mr Weinberger had recently been treated for pneumonia, reports say.
He joined the Reagan administration in 1981 and went on to preside over a period of massive military spending.
His son told Reuters news agency Mr Weinberger should be remembered as “a great American patriot” who helped bring down the Soviet Union.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell also paid tribute to Mr Weinberger, describing him as “an indefatigable fighter for peace through strength”.
During his time in office, Mr Weinberger is credited with persuading Congress to fund the so-called “Star Wars” programme - a system for defending the US against incoming missiles by space and by land.
He was a divisive figure who clashed with other key players in the Reagan cabinet - but was widely regarded as a close ally of the president himself.
An earlier stint in Washington saw Mr Weinberger managing the federal budget for President Richard Nixon - a period during which he earned the nickname “Cap the Knife” for pushing through a series of cuts.