Panama City, FL –
(NEXSTAR) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has died of complications from COVID-19, his family said in a statement shared on Facebook Monday. He was 84 years old.
According to Powell’s family, he was fully vaccinated and receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great American,” the family wrote in the statement.
“General Colin L. Powell, former US Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died this morning from complications related to Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated. We would like to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their thoughtful treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great American. “
– The Powell family
Powell was the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later U.S. Secretary of State, for which he was unanimously confirmed in 2001.
As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he oversaw the US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to overthrow the Iraqi army in 1991.
He then presented a compelling case to the UN Security Council in 2003 in favor of US military action against Iraq, claiming that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The war was fought, Saddam was overthrown and killed, Iraq was destabilized, but no such weapon was found and his reputation suffered a painful setback.
Powell has consistently defended his support for the Iraq war. He cited misinformation claiming that Hussein secretly hid weapons of mass destruction. He told the UN that Iraq’s claims that he had not represented “a network of lies”.
A longtime Republican, Powell was of little use to former President Donald Trump, endorsing Hillary Clinton in 2016 and speaking in favor of Joe Biden at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. He left the Republican Party after the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol.
Former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most importantly, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I extend our deepest condolences to Alma and their children as they remember the life of a great man.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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