Martin Feldstein, a top adviser for both Republican and Democratic presidents and one of the most influential academic economists of his generation, died Tuesday at the age of 79.

The cause of death was cancer, according to his Harvard University colleague Jeremy Stein, a former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

A “world-renowned scholar, teacher and policy-maker, Marty was the pre-eminent bridge-builder in the economics profession, someone who did more to bring people and ideas together in a congenial way than just about anyone else,” Stein said in an email to colleagues.

Feldstein was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House’s chief economist, from 1982 to 1984 under President Reagan. He later served in advisory positions to President George W. Bush and President Obama.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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