Colin Powell, the first African American to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, who also was a four-star U.S. Army general and also the first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has died of complications of COVID-19 Monday, CNN reports. He was 84.
The Bronx, N.Y., native rose in the ranks in the American military to shape foreign U.S. foreign policy over the course of the 80s and 90s, serving under several presidents including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as leading the effort behind Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
In a post on his Facebook page, Powell’s family said that he was fully vaccinated against coronavirus. CNN reported that he had suffered from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that weakens the body’s ability to fight infections.
“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in the statement.
VIDEO: Colin Powell — Portait of a Leader
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was among the first Monday morning to express sorrow over the loss of his longtime friend and mentor.
A son of Jamaican immigrants, Colin Luther Powell was born April 5, 1937 and grew up in a working class South Bronx neighborhood. He attended the City College of New York, where he majored in geology. But his military career began when he joined the ROTC there and received an Army commission as a second lieutenant when he graduated in 1958.
Years later in Vietnam,