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Posted under: News Politics

Colin Powell, First Black U.S. Secretary Of State, Dies From COVID-19 Complications

The family of the highly revered former politician said he was fully vaccinated.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has died at the age of 84 from COVID-19 complications, CNN reports. Powell's family announced the news on Facebook on Monday.

"We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American," the family stated, adding that he was fully vaccinated.

The Vietnam veteran became the first Black national security adviser during Ronald Reagan's presidency. Under President George H.W. Bush, he emerged as the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also became the youngest to hold the position.

Powell gained more popularity after guiding the U.S.-led coalition to victory during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. The veteran was at one point considered to be the one who would emerge as the first Black U.S. president. His reputation, however, took a hit when he served as George W. Bush's first secretary of state and advocated for the U.S. to enter the controversial Iraq War.

In a statement on Monday, Bush described Powell as "a great public servant" who was "such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice."

"He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend," the former president said.

When he was sworn in as Bush's secretary of state in 2001, Powell stood fourth in the presidential line of succession and became the highest-ranking Black public official to date. 

"I think it shows to the world what is possible in this country," Powell said during his Senate confirmation hearing. "It shows to the world that: Follow our model, and over a period of time from our beginning, if you believe in the values that espouse, you can see things as miraculous as me sitting before you to receive your approval."

The trailblazer later grew apart from the Republican party and partnered with Democrats, helping to elect Barack Obama in 2008. 

The New York native, who was born to Jamaican immigrants, was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, while battling COVID-19, The Washington Post reports.

He is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell and their three children.

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