Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, has died as a result of COVID-19 complications, his family has said. He was 84 years old.
Powell, a retired four-star general who served as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under George W. Bush, had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In a statement announcing his death, his family called him a “remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” and thanked medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where he was being treated.
Before embarking on an influential career in politics, the New Yorker was a soldier for more than 30 years.
Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the most senior military officer in the U.S. Armed Forces—between late 1989 and 1993, overseeing the U.S. invasions of Panama and Kuwait, as well as Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq. He was also a key player in the build up to that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.