(CNN) – Former Democratic National Committee chair Charles T. Manatt died Friday at the age of 75, his law firm said Saturday.
Manatt served as the DNC chairman from 1981 to 1985 during the late President Ronald Reagan's first term in office.
Former President Bill Clinton released a statement recalling a long friendship with the Democratic leader.
"Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Chuck Manatt," he said. "We were friends for 30 years, and saw firsthand how he used his energy, intellect, and common sense to help restore the Democratic Party after 1980, to make America more prosperous and just, and to make friends for our nation around the world."
Manatt also served as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic during Clinton's second term in office.
Current DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz remembered Manatt as a "very good man" who "gained national recognition for his dedication to Democratic candidates and Democratic ideas."
"His opinion remained sought after to the day of his death, and his influence will long be felt in our party," she said in a statement.