Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State, Dead at 84 After COVID-19 Complications

Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State, Dead at 84 After COVID-19 Complications
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After a lifetime of service, Colin Powell has died.

The four-star general, who became the first African-American Secretary of State, passed away on Monday, Oct. 18 from COVID-19 complications, his family confirmed in a statement. He had reportedly also been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, per NBC News, a cancer that forms in plasma cells that accumulate in bone marrow. "He was fully vaccinated," their statement read. "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." He was 84 years old.

A New York native, Powell rose to prominence in the Army, eventually becoming a one-star general in 1979 and making him the youngest general officer of that time. He became National Security Advisor in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan before assuming the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989. He fulfilled the role under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Powell as Secretary of State. "Laura [Bush] and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell," the former commander-in-chief said in a statement. "He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell's counsel and experience."

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Highlighting the many roles Powell served under four presidents, Bush continued, "He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad."

Colin Powell
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Powell married his longtime wife Alma Powell in 1962. Together, they welcomed son Michael Powell, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and daughters Linda Powell and Annemarie Powell. "Most important, Colin was a family man and a friend," Bush's statement concluded. "Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man."

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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