Colin Powell was born in New York, a city, on April 5, 1937, and he died on – October 18, 2021. He was an American politician, diplomat, statesman, and four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. Powel was the first African-American Secretary of State.
Before the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, he and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in federal executive branch history. They both, as Secretary of State, were fourth in the U.S. presidential line of succession. He served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989, and Colin Powell also served as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
According to a Facebook post on his official page, Powell’s family said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff died Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19.
“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,” the post reads.
“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.”
The statement did not mention when he fell ill or when he may have been hospitalized. According to a close friend who asked not to be named, Powell had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in remission, and early-stage Parkinson’s disease. Blood cancer reduces the body’s ability to fight infection and puts people at higher risk for severe COVID-19.
Powell, the first Black secretary of state, was a mainstay in American politics for decades and was named to senior posts by three Republican presidents and reached the top of the U.S. military during his career.
Powell served as U.S. national security adviser under then-president Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. A four-star general, he chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff under then-president George H.W. Bush during the 1991 Gulf War that saw U.S.-led forces expel Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait.
A moderate Republican, Powell did consider a bid to become the first Black president in 1996, but his wife Alma’s worries about his safety steered him away. In 2008, he broke with his party to endorse Democrat Barack Obama, who became the first Black president in U.S. history.
Powell will forever be linked with his controversial 2003 pitch to the U.N. Security Council, making former President George W. Bush’s case that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had amassed weapons of mass destruction and was an imminent danger to the world.
Furthermore, he highlighted links of militants within Iraq to Al-Qaeda, but experts considered those connections weak to non-existent.
He admitted later that the presentation was filled with inaccuracies and warped intelligence provided by some Bush administration officials and was “a blot” that will “always be a part of my record.”
Former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death, The Associated Press reported.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”
In 1995, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, and It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership (2012). He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad.
Before he was appointed Secretary of State, Colin Powell was the chairman of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of young people. He won numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations.
His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions were named in his honor, and he held honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. In 2016, while not a candidate for that year’s election, he received three electoral votes from Washington for the office of President of the United States.