(Chuck Colson, June 18, 2003. REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Charles Colson, a Richard Nixon White House operative during the Watergate scandal who had a reputation for ruthlessness before going to jail and starting a prison ministry, died on Saturday at age 80, the ministry said.

Colson, who compiled Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” before Watergate brought down the president in 1974, died of complications from a brain hemorrhage after being admitted to a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 31, Prison Fellowship Ministries said in a statement on its website.

He had undergone surgery to remove clotting on his brain, but his condition deteriorated earlier this week.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Chuck Colson – our friend, founder, and brother in Christ – has passed away,” the ministry’s CEO, Jim Liske, said in the statement. “T h ough we mourn the loss of a great leader, we rejoice knowing God has welcomed his humble and faithful servant home.”

Colson served as counsel to the president from 1969 to 1973 and a major part of his job was playing hardball politics to assure Nixon’s re-election in 1972.