Colin Powell, an American war hero and the first black secretary of state who saw his legacy tarnished when he advocated for the Iraq war in 2003, has died of complications from Covid-19. He was 84 years old.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great American,” the family said in a social media statement Monday.
The retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served four presidents has made his reputation as a man of honor removed from the political fray – an asset in the corridors of power.
“General Powell is an American hero, an American example and a great American history,” said George W. Bush, announcing the appointment of Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants who became secretary of state to the Republican president in 2000.
“In the frankness of his speech, his imposing integrity, his deep respect for our democracy and his sense of duty and honor as a soldier, Colin Powell demonstrates … qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people from this country.”
But he struggled to live up to his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council on the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – the evidence he presented later turned out to be false.
“It’s a stain … and it will always be part of my record. It was painful. It is painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.
Tributes nonetheless poured in from Congress, where Democratic Senator Mark Warner hailed Powell as “a patriot and an official,” while House Republican Peter Meijer described him as a rarity in the modern age: “a true statesman soldier ”.
The family statement said Powell had been fully immunized.
France Media Agency
Colin Powell, first black US secretary of state, dies of complications from Covid-19
SourceColin Powell, first black US secretary of state, dies of complications from Covid-19