Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State, Dies at 84 Following COVID-19 Complications

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell has died at the age of 84 following COVID-19 complications, his family has announced. In a post shared to his social media by his family on Monday morning, Powell, who served under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 as the first Black U.S. Secretary of State,  was known for his hard work in shaping American foreign policy between the 20th century and 21st.

"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," the family wrote in a post, also shared by CBS News. "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."

Before retiring following his 35 years of military service, the four-star general worked to oversee America's Desert Storm operations as chairman during the Persian Gulf war. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was the first national security adviser for the Reagan administration between 1987 to 1989 and later serve as 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. This feat would catapult him to becoming the youngest and first Black chairman of the CJCS. In 2001, Powell became the first Black Secretary of State under President Bush. In a statement issued by Bush on Monday morning for immediate release, the former president reflected on Powell being a "great public servant." Stating how he and former First Lady Laura Bush are "deeply saddened," Bush went on to honor Powell by sharing how many presidents had relied on his counsel and experience.

After exiting the Bush administration, Powell returned to having a private life where he joined venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins in 2005 as a strategic adviser until his death. Though a large majority of his time was spent serving Republican administrations, Powell would later lend his support to Democratic presidential candidates like President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while criticizing top Republican leaders. According to CNN, Powell voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Donald Trump — an individual he had strongly condemned as a "national disgrace and an international pariah."

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Powell was previously diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that hurts the body's ability to fight infections. He is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell, whom he married in 1962, and three children.