Tributes as former US Secretary of State dies of complications from COVID-19 – World – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Colin Powell, the first black U.S. secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape U.S. foreign policy during the later years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died of complications from COVID-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84 years old.

According to a statement from his family, he had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great American,” a statement read.

“We would like to thank the medical staff for their attentive treatment,” he added.

A source familiar with the matter said Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response. Even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, people who are immunocompromised are at a greater risk of contracting the virus.

George W Bush was among the first to pay tribute, claiming that Powell was “a great public servant” who was “such a favorite of presidents that he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice. He was well respected at home and abroad. And most importantly, Colin was a family man and a friend.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also offered his condolences to Powell’s family.

“Powell was a true American patriot who served our nation with distinction in uniform, as a four-star general, national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs and 65th secretary of state,” Pence said on Twitter.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement that he was an American icon whose career in public service will always be celebrated and commemorated.

“But to me he was just my friend Colin,” Albright added. “Although we grew up in different contexts, we bonded with our family’s immigrant stories, our deep love of America, and our belief in the importance of public service.

“He was a wise and principled man, a loyal friend and one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

Dick Cheney, who was President George W Bush’s second in command, issued a statement praising Secretary Powell.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and a statesman,” Cheney said. “General Powell has had a remarkably distinguished career and I have been fortunate enough to work with him. He was a man who loved his country and served it long and well.

Mr. Cheney cited their joint work during the Gulf War, but did not mention the war in Iraq.

“Powell was a pioneer and a role model for many: the son of immigrants who went on to become a national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs and secretary of state,” Cheney said. “His legacy and unprecedented service will never be forgotten. “

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he “had lost a wonderful personal friend and mentor”.

Powell was a former senior military officer who became the first African American Secretary of State in 2001 under Republican George W Bush.

Powell, a moderate Republican who broke with his party to support Barack Obama in 2008, has become a trusted military adviser to a number of prominent American politicians.

Powell was a distinguished professional soldier and pioneer whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first black national security adviser at the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American president. of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George HW. Bush. His national popularity skyrocketed in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory in the Gulf War, and for some time in the mid-1990s he was seen as one of the top contenders for become the first black president of the United States.

But his reputation would be forever tarnished when, as George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed misinformation before the United Nations to advocate the war in Iraq, which he later called a “stain” on. his file.

“It was painful. It is painful now,” Mr. Powell told ABC News in 2005.

He has become a trusted military advisor to a number of prominent American politicians. And, despite his own reluctance, he helped to tip international opinion behind the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Although Powell never ran for the White House, when he was sworn in as Bush’s Secretary of State in 2001, he became the highest black public official to date in the country, se ranking fourth in the line of presidential succession.

“I think it shows the world what is possible in this country,” Powell said of his historic appointment during his Senate confirmation hearing. “It shows the world that: Follow our pattern, and over a period of time since our inception, if you believe in the values ​​that espouse you can see things as miraculous as I do sitting in front of you to receive your approval. “

Powell was born in Harlem, New York, on April 5, 1937, the son of Jamaican immigrants.

His parents originally pronounced his name with a short “o” in the traditional English manner, but he changed the pronunciation in honor of a US Army Air Corps pilot, Colin Kelly, who was killed. shortly after Pearl Harbor.

He was, by his own admission, an average scholar who left high school without a positive career plan.


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