Iraqi Stigma: Colin Powell Dies at 84 of Covid Complications

Published October 18th, 2021 - 01:01 GMT
Colin Powell
Colin Powell (AFP File Photo)

Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State who helped formulate foreign policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush, died Monday morning at the age of 84 of complications from COVID.

The Pentagon powerhouse who served in Vietnam and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was fully vaccinated when he passed away at Walter Reed Medical Center in Baltimore, according to his family. 

Powell is survived by his wife Alma and three children, Michael, Linda and Annemarie, and has a celebrated career that saw him rise up the military ranks after growing up in a Jamaican immigrant family in Harlem.

His family confirmed his death in a statement on Facebook, but did not elaborate on the complications. It's unclear when he was diagnosed with COVID or how long he was hospitalized for.

'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,' his family wrote in a statement on Facebook.

'He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,' they added.

'We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.'

The four star general was the first black secretary of State and to this day is the only black man to ever serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

He served under several Republican administrations – including for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Also, from 1991-1993 he served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Bill Clinton after being appointed to the post halfway through Bush Sr's tenure. 

Despite being a lifelong Republican, Powell said in June 2020 that he was planning to vote for Joe Biden because Trump 'drifted away' from the Constitution and was turned off by the president's inclination to insult 'anybody who dares to speak against him'. 

Trump responded to the criticism in a tweet at the time saying: 'Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden.'

Powell praised other retired generals who denounced the then-president – specifically in response to the protests that precipitated after the death of George Floyd.

'I think what we're seeing now with the most massive protest movement I have ever seen in my life, I think it suggests that the country is getting wise to this and we're not going to put up with it anymore,' Powell told CNN at the time.

Powell was born to Jamaican immigrants in New York City and raised in the South Bronx, according to his biography.

He first joined the military as part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) during college and went on to serve as an Army lieutenant after graduation. 


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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