The 84-year-old George W. Bush-appointed general was vaccinated against COVID, his family reported.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died this Monday at age 84 from complications derived from COVID-19, his family announced. He was the first African-American to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff and lead American diplomacy.
The four-star general, appointed to the cabinet by George W. Bush, gained extraordinary worldwide media notoriety after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers when Washington deployed a new foreign policy. He starred in memorable presentations at the United Nations Security Council arguing in favor of intervention in Iraq.
"General Colin L. Powell, the former United States Secretary of State and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died this morning from complications caused by Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. "We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American," the family said in a statement.
His environment did not tell her about her illness before. The last public appearance took place a month ago at a rally in Washington marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Powell was chairman of the Army's Joint Chiefs of Staff under George HW Bush during the 1991 Gulf War, in which US-led forces drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
When Bush Jr. nominated him for secretary of state, he said: "General Powell is an American hero, an American example, and a great American story. In the frankness of his speech, his high integrity, his deep respect for our democracy, and his sense of duty and honor as a soldier, Colin Powell demonstrates qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people of this country. "
Yet Powell found it difficult to forget his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council on the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, presenting evidence later proven false. "It is a stain… and it will always be part of my record. It was painful. Now it's painful," Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News, months after stepping down from office to Condoleezza Rice.
Although he has been recognized as a moderate and pragmatic Republican for decades, he opposed Donald Trump's candidacy in 2016 and 2020, backing rivals Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Following the attack on the Capital last January, he disassociated himself from the Conservative Party and declared himself independent.
He was born in Harlem (New York) in 1937, the son of immigrants from Jamaica. He studied geology (1958) and later did an MBA at George Washington University (1971). In between, he was deployed twice to the Vietnam War.
Tributes came from Congress, where Democratic Senator Mark Warner praised Powell as "a patriot and a public servant." At the same time, House Republican Peter Meijer described him as a rarity in the modern age: "a true statesman soldier."