Ron Silver, the actor and Democrat-turned-Republican political organizer, died this morning after a two-year-battle with esophageal cancer. He was 62.

A friend told the Post: "Ron Silver died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him this morning."

The actor started the left-leaning Creative Coalition in 1989 but switched to the GOP following the Sept. 11 attacks, speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

His West Wing character Bruno Gianelli underwent a similar conversion on that TV show. Silver also took on movie roles, including 1990's Reversal of Fortune, in which he played constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz.

Silver's cancer had not been previously publicized, judging from a quick Nexis search.

Silver had a son and a daughter, according to