Former US Secretary of State, Collin Powell, has died of COVID-19 complications, his family has announced on Facebook.
Aged 84, the Republican was a former top military officer who rose to become the first African-American secretary of state in 2000 under President George W Bush.
Powell’s leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.
“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,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they said, noting he was fully vaccinated.
“We want to thank the medical staff for their caring treatment,” it said
Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush.
His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States.
But his reputation would be forever stained when, as George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which he would later call a “blot” on his record.