Former secretary of state and military leader General Colin Powell has died of COVID-19 complications, his family says.
Powell, 84, was fully vaccinated and received treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before succumbing to the deadly respiratory illness.
What are the details?
In a social media announcement on his death, Powell’s family said, “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. 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, and grandfather, and a great American,” the post concluded.
Powell in 1989 became the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He later became the country’s first black secretary of state under former President George W. Bush.
In a statement on Powell’s passing, former President George W. Bush said, “[Powell] was a great public servant” who was “widely respected at home and abroad.”
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell,” the statement said. “He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. 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. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”
Powell was a combat duty soldier during the Vietnam War and later became former President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser — the first black male to serve in this position.
During his 2001 swearing-in as Bush’s secretary of state, he said, “I think it shows to the world what is possible in this country. It shows to the world that: Follow our model, and over a period of time from our beginning, if you believe in the values that espouse, you can see things as miraculous as me sitting before you to receive your approval.”
He was born on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrants.
He is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian Johnson Powell, whom he married in 1962. He leaves behind three adult children.