General Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State and a former chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff died on Monday from complications of COVID-19.
He was 84 and his demise was announced by his family via a Facebook posting, saying, “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great American.”
The family noted that Powell was fully vaccinated against the virus and thanked the medical staff at the Walter Reed National Medical Center outside Washington “for their caring treatment” during his final days.
Powell was the country’s top diplomat from 2001 to 2005 during the first term of Republican President George W. Bush.
Earlier, Powell, a four-star Army general, and 35-year veteran was the Pentagon’s military leader, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from 1989 to 1983, under Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush.
George W. Bush was among the first to pay tribute to “a family man and a friend” who “was such a favourite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice”.
He also saw service and was wounded in Vietnam, an experience that later helped define his own military and political strategies.
However, for many he was associated with the role he played in garnering support for the Iraq war, admitting in a speech to the United Nations Security Council that using faulty intelligence was “a blot” on his record.
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