Colin Powell, the first US Secretary of State of African-American origin, whose leadership helped shape American foreign policy over four different administrations, has died from complications due to Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.
The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was an American war hero who became the US Secretary of State under the George Bush administration.
While announcing Powell’s appointment in 2000, then US President George W. Bush hailed him for his “towering integrity” and his “sense of duty and honor” as a soldier.
Mr. Powell was a decorated military hero, a four-star general having earned a Purple Heart, he first participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in college, and upon his graduation in June 1958, received a commission as a second lieutenant posted in then West Germany.
Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, as a military advisor under the JFK administration, and was also part of the team to investigate the infamous 1968 My Lai massacre. He faced questions about the tone of his report into the hundreds of deaths at My Lai, which controversially suggested to dismiss any claims of wrongdoing.
He quickly rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of the American national security establishment, serving Ronald Reagan as national security advisor, and both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989 to 1993.
Powell liberal’s social views made him the odd one out with the Republicans, though the party was often happy set him as an example of its inclusive nature as a forum.
He has during the later part of his life, endorsed Democrats for the top job, backing Barack Obama, and then Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Powell earned a number of civilian honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice from Bush Senior and Clinton.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in a statement posted to social media.
Mr. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to the family.
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