Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died today, aged 84, of COVID-19 complications.

The family of the former military officer confirmed that he died on Monday morning (18th Oct) at Walter Reid Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was being treated.

Colin Powell, who became the first African-American secretary of state in 2001 and twice earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died of COVID-19 complications despite being fully vaccinated, his family said.

Powell’s immune system had reportedly been compromised after receiving treatment for blood cancer. He had previously survived prostate cancer.

Powell, born in Harlem, in New York City, to Jamaican immigrants, was a veteran of the Vietnam war and a four-star general. He rose to become chairman of the joint chiefs of staff between 1989 and 1993. He presided over several key military campaigns including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the first Gulf war against Iraq in 1990-91.

He also worked with several presidents as advisor over the years, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complicationsDoD News
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complications

Powell worked closely with Blair to garner support for the controversial invasion of Iraq in 2003 which later damaged Powell’s legacy due to faulty intelligence material, which included false claims that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”.

Blair called Powell “a great companion” in a tribute message today.

Former Republican president George W Bush, under whom Powell served as secretary of state, also paid a tribute calling Powell “a great public servant”.

Current US President Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, issued a joint statement saying that they were “deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity”.


 

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