Tony Snow, a conservative writer and commentator who cheerfully sparred with reporters in the White House briefing room during a stint as President George W. Bush's press secretary, died Saturday of colon cancer. He was 53. Snow died at 2 a.m. at Georgetown University Hospital, according to former employer Fox News. "America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character," Bush said in a statement from Camp David, where he was spending the weekend. "It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work." He served just 17 months as press secretary, a tenure interrupted by his second bout with cancer. In 2005 doctors had removed his colon and he began six months of chemotherapy. In March 2007 a cancerous growth was removed from his abdominal area and he spent five weeks recuperating before returning to the White House.