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Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state, has died from complications from COVID-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84 and fully vaccinated but was previously diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that affects the immune system.

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Source: THOMAS COEX / Getty

“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 Powell family wrote on Facebook. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they added while thanking Walter Reed National Medical Center.

 

CNN notes that General Powell’s leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.”

Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States.

Former President George W. Bush has released a statement on General Powell’s passing praising him for being a “great public servant” starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam.

“Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience,” the statement added. “Laura and I send Ama and their our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

This story is still developing…

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