Colin Powell, the first U.S. black Secretary of State and military leader, whose leadership in several administrations helped formulate foreign policy, died on Monday morning from Covid related complications.
His family relaid his death at age 84 on Facebook.
“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,” his family wrote on Facebook.
Powell, though fully vaccinated, passed away at Walter Reed Medical Center in Baltimore, his family added. The family, however, made no mention of whether Colin received a booster shot.
“He was fully vaccinated. 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,” said his family in a statement.
Colin Powell had three children with his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell. According to reports, Alma Powell also had breakthrough Covid hut responded to treatment. According to reports made to the U.S. centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700 breakthrough cases of Covid-19 have resulted in death as of October 12. And of those resulting in death, 85 percent were among people aged 65 and older, 57 percent of them being men.
“The world lost one of the greatest leaders we have ever witnessed,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday. “Alma lost a great husband. And I lost a tremendous personal friend & mentor.”
The 84-year-old Republican served as a soldier in Vietnam, rose to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 2001, he became the first African-American Secretary of State under the then-Republican President George W. Bush. This position made him the highest-ranking Black public official at the time.
George W. Bush was among the first people to pay his tribute to the late General, referring to him as “a great public servant” who 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.”
Between 1987 to 1989, Powell served as a national security adviser to former President Ronald Reagan and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former President George HW Bush and former President Bill Clinton from 1989 to 1993.
The four-star general last held a public office in 2005. When he was in service, he proved to be instrumental in shaping American foreign policies for the Republican presidential administration in the last years of the 20th Century and the early years of the 21st Century.
Despite his brilliant long-running career, Powell was not exempt from controversy. In the Iraq war controversy, Powell has been accused of misleading the public in the lead up to the U.S. invasion in Iraq in 2003.
Though initially opposed to the war, Powell, on February 5, 2003, made a controversial presentation to the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the Bush administration, stating that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was an imminent danger to the world.
“There can be no doubt,” he warned, “that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”
Powell would later admit that the presentation was had inaccuracies and twisted intelligence provided by other officials in the Bush Administration after Inspectors later found no such weaponry in Iraq.
A decision that affected not only his reputation but caused damage to Iraq as American troops went to war six weeks after his moving speech. A decision and a lesson that he regretted, “It was painful. It’s painful now,” he told ABC News in 2005.
After leaving the Bush administration in 2005, Powell joined the renowned venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins where he served as a strategic adviser until his demise. And although he was an avid Republic supporter, he turned into a Democratic supporter that criticized the top Republic Leader in his later years—critiquing Donald Trump’s presidency and supporting Joe Biden instead.