Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies of COVID complications at 84: 'A family man and a friend'

·2 min read

Colin Powell, who served as the nation's first Black secretary of state during the presidency of George W. Bush, died Monday morning at age 84 following complications from COVID-19, his family confirmed. The retired four-star general was fully vaccinated, reports The New York Times per Powell's family, but was also fighting multiple myeloma, "a type of blood cancer that hurts the body's ability to fight infections," notes CNBC.

"We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment," said Powell's family in a post on Facebook, per NPR. "We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American."

High-profile tributes to Powell began rolling in shortly after news of his passing broke. Said former President George W. Bush: "He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice."

"He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend," Bush wrote.

"A statesman and trailblazer, devoted to America and the cause of liberty, Colin Powell's legacy of service and honor will long inspire," wrote Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Powell's passing made him feel "as if I have a hole in my heart," per CNN's Jennifer Hansler.

Powell also served as the country's first Black national security adviser and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, writes the Times. His views on military conflict — dubbed the "Powell Doctrine" — "shaped a national security outlook that advocated against precipitous war," per the Journal. Powell is also notable for arguing before the United Nations in favor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, citing intelligence that later turned out to be mostly incorrect. Read more at CNBC.

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