SEATTLE (AP) — William Doyle Ruckelshaus, who famously quit his job in the U.S. Justice Department rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, has died. He was 87.

Ruckelshaus served as the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which confirmed his death in a statement Wednesday.

The lifelong Republican also served as acting director of the FBI. But his moment of fame came in 1973, when he was a deputy attorney general and joined his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, in resigning rather than carrying out Nixon’s unlawful order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

After Richardson and Ruckelshaus resigned, Solicitor General Robert Bork carried out the firing in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” — prompting protests and outrage around the country.

“He was incorruptible,” longtime friend and Seattle philanthropist Martha Kongsgaard said Wednesday of Ruckelshaus. “It was very disappointing for him to see this happening again in our country, and maybe on a larger scale. Deep decency in the face of corruption is needed now more than ever.”



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