Father's death forces Blinken's departure from U.N.

David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP
·1 min read

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s time at the annual U.N. General Assembly was cut short Thursday evening when the nation's top diplomat rushed to be with his father, who died overnight at 96 years old.

“My family lost a parent and grandparent, a source of love and inspiration — my father Donald Blinken,” Blinken announced in a tweet late Thursday. “A member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, a U.S. Ambassador, president of the Mark Rothko Foundation, chair of the State University of New York dad served his city, state and country.”

The secretary of state rushed from the United Nations in Manhattan — where its annual summit is being held this week — to be with his family on Long Island on Thursday, NBC News's Andrea Mitchell reported on “Morning Joe” early Friday morning. Donald Blinken, a former U.S. diplomat, investment banker and modern art collector, died peacefully at his home in East Hampton on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

“Dad inspired me to public service. He lived with decency, dignity and modesty. He loved his wife Vera and his family. He built a wonderful life and gave me a wonderful life. I love you dad,” Antony Blinken wrote in a tweet.

Hours before leaving for Long Island, Blinken had delivered an impassioned speech to the U.N. Security Council denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin's escalation of the war in Ukraine. He canceled several events he was set to participate in at the U.N. on Thursday evening following the news of his father’s condition, and his schedule on Friday will be adjusted to account for family commitments, according to AP.