Former Secretary of State Colin Powell died Monday at age 84. His family released a statement saying he died due to complications from COVID-19.
Powell’s family reported that he was fully vaccinated and receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center. He was also suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting plasma cells.
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.Statement from Powell’s family
His longtime chief of staff Peggy Cifrino confirmed Powell was supposed to receive a booster shot this past week, but couldn’t due to being ill. He was administered his second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in February.
Powell was born in 1937 and is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian Powell, and three children.
He had a decorated career in the military, including tours in Vietnam. Following his time in the military, Powell held multiple military and diplomatic positions throughout the government.
Former President George W. Bush, who chose Powell to serve as his secretary of State, said “Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. 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”.
Powell was the National Security Adviser under President Reagan, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush’s father and President Bill Clinton.
Joining the Reagan administration in 1987, Powell was the first black individual to serve in the role. Two years later he transitioned to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also being the first black American to hold the position.
In 2003, Powell was criticized for his push for invading Iraq. In a speech to the United Nations, he explained there was evidence that showed the Iraqi military was misleading United Nations inspectors and concealing weapons of mass destruction.
Two years after Powell’s speech, a government report concluded that the claims were “dead wrong”. “I regret it now because the information was wrong — of course I do,” Powell said. “But I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community,” he added.
During his retirement, Powell served on the boards of directors for the Council on Foreign relations, the Eisenhower Fellowship Program, and the Powell Center at the City College of New York.