Gen. Colin Powell, former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday morning “due to complications from Covid 19,” according to his official Facebook page.
“He was fully vaccinated,” the Facebook post, signed by the Powell family, noted. “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.”
Powell was the first black U.S. secretary of state, serving in the role from 2001 to 2005 under former President George W. Bush. He was also the U.S. national security advisor from 1987 to 1989 under former President Ronald Reagan and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993 under former President George H. W. Bush.
He died at age 84.
Powell had multiple myeloma, according to NBC News, which is a type of blood cancer that weakens a person’s ability to stave off infections.
Gen. Colin Powell has died due to complications from COVID-19, according to his family: pic.twitter.com/xp3gz59PJE
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) October 18, 2021
Powell served and was wounded twice in Vietnam during the 1960s. He was also the first black national security advisor and came under fire during Bush’s presidency for promoting unsound intelligence while advocating for the Iraq War. In 2003, he advocated for the war in a speech to the United Nations by describing alleged Iraqi weapons programs, which was later revealed to be wrong.
Powell said the speech was a “blot” on his record, telling ABC News in 2005 it is still “painful.” (RELATED: Colin Powell: Bush Was A ‘Perfect American’)
“There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn’t be relied upon, and they didn’t speak up. That devastated me,” Powell said.
The former joint chiefs of staff was involved in numerous historical military actions, such as the 1989 Panama operation and the 1991 Gulf War. He issued a now-famous line during a press conference in 1991 while describing America’s plan for isolating the Iraqi army in Kuwait, telling reporters: “First we’re going to cut it off. Then we’re going to kill it.”
Powell was the highest-ranking black public official ever when he was sworn in as secretary of state in 2001. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Powell said it showed “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,” Powell said.