Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the first African American ever to hold that position, died Monday of complications following a COVID-19 diagnosis. He was 84.
General Powell, who served under President George Bush, was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it was reported.
“General Colin L. Powell, former US 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,” the family explained through a a statement.
Powell was the first African-American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before becoming head of American diplomacy.
“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their thoughtful treatment. We have lost a husband, father, grandfather and an extraordinary and loving great American,” the relatives went on.
Powell was born in New York City and joined the military after graduating from the City University of New York. He rose through the ranks of the military to become a national security adviser to then-President Ronald Reagan. He later was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military appointment in the Department of Defense.
In 1991, when he was the top military officer, President George Bush Sr the US would head a multinational force to expel Iraqi forces from neighboring Kuwait.
But in 2003, while he was the country’s top diplomat, Powell alsoPowell served as Secretary of State under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, overseeing US diplomacy in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
He then played a key role in leading the US into its ill-fated invasion of Iraq on the erroneous intelligence that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which posed an imminent threat to world peace.
On February 5, 2003, Powell addressed the U.N. Security Council, advancing the case for war sought by President George W. Bush and key officials in his administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney.