Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State and former White House national security adviser, who helped formulate foreign policy under several presidents, died on Monday of Covid-related complications, his family said. He was 84 and was fully vaccinated. Powell was also a retired four-star general who had an illustrious four-decade long political career.
Powell passed away at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland according to his family. He was also suffering from Parkinson's and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alma, and three children. Alma Powell also had a breakthrough case of Covid but responded to treatment, according to reports.
Powell's family confirmed his death via a Facebook statement. However, they didn't mention if he had received a booster shot. It's also unclear when he had contracted Covid or how long he was hospitalized for, but he had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that impacts the body's ability to fight infections.
"General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated," his family said in the Facebook statement.
"We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American," the statement further read.
Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura mourning Powell's death said they were "deeply saddened" by the news of Powell's passing. "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell', they said in a joint statement. "He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend."
An Illustrious Career
Jimmy Carter, 97, the oldest living US president also expressed his condolences for Powell. Powell served in Carter's Democratic administration as an executive assistant in the Energy and Defense Departments.
Powell had a celebrated career that saw him rise up the military ranks after growing up in a Jamaican immigrant family in Harlem. He also went on to serve under several Republican presidents including Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Under George H. W. Bush, Powell backed the Iraq War in 2003 and was instrumental in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban after 9/11. During that time he was the secretary of state during. He was the first black person to attain this position and served between 2001 and 2005.
However, his image was somewhat tarnished in 2003 when he delivered a speech to the United Nations Security Council to make the case that the United States should go to war against Iraq. He cited false information that there was evidence that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were hiding weapons of mass destruction. Powell resigned in 2005 and later referred to his UN speech as a "blot" that would forever tarnish his record.