Bush Nominee for Navy
Secretary Commits Suicide


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's nominee to be secretary of the Navy, oil executive Colin McMillan, died on Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, the New Mexico medical examiners offices said.
McMillan, 67, died at his ranch in southern New Mexico.
"The manner of death was suicide," said Tim Stepetic, associate director of New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator. "Mr. McMillan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head." Scot Key, a state district attorney in Alamogordo, New Mexico, said his office was looking into reports that McMillan may have had a recurrence of cancer. A spokesman for McMillan's family said the nominee had been treated for cancer of the jaw.
Bush sent "condolences and prayers" to McMillan's family and friends. "Colin was a public servant and patriot who served his country and state," the president said in a statement.
New Mexico's senior senator, Republican Pete Domenici, a longtime friend of McMillan, paid tribute to him in remarks on the floor of the Senate and in a subsequent statement.
"This is one that you would never believe, even when you are told it's true," Domenici said of McMillan's death.
"He will be missed by so many people. He leaves us at a relatively young age; his successes are many," Domenici said.
Bush nominated McMillan on May 7 to replace Gordon England, who stepped down as Navy secretary in January to become deputy secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security.
McMillan was chairman of Permian Exploration Corp., which specializes in oil and gas exploration. In 1990, he was appointed by Bush's father, then-President George Bush, to serve as assistant secretary of defense, a position he held until 1992.
A funeral is set for Monday in Roswell, said Roswell Mayor Bill Owen, who is also a spokesman for the McMillan family.
"It is a difficult time and the family will have many difficult days and weeks and months ahead," Owen said.
(With additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Dallas)
Ms. Jean Isachenko, <>;jsessionid=LP41P5DCXU01ECRBAE



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