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Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell Dies of Covid-19

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Four-star general Colin Powell conferring with General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War in the 1990s. Credit: US Army/Public Domain

Colin Powell, the first black person to serve as US Secretary of State, died of complications of Covid-19 on Monday. A four-star general, he helped shape foreign relations in several Republican administrations.

His family posted a message on Facebook on Monday morning stating “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.”

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He was 84 years of age.

The son of Jamaican immigrants Luther and Maud Powell, the eventual four-star general was raised in the South Bronx.

Colin Powell widely admired before Iraq invasion tarnished image

Serving as the first African-American Secretary of State, Powell was a well-regarded figure who appealed to both sides of the aisle — until he backed the invasion of Iraq under the administration of George W. Bush.

The Powell family stated “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they said, adding that he had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

After serving in Vietnam, he served as a national security adviser to Ronald Reagan. He also became the first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

Becoming an almost-universally-admired figure after the US-led victory during the Gulf War,  he was c considered a leading candidate for the Presidency. However, all that changed when, as George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, he passed along inaccurate intelligence regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, stating that the US had no alternative but to go to war with Saddam Hussein.

When he spoke to the United Nations just prior to the US invasion of the country, there was no applause after his remarks — just a deafening silence. This misstep was to mark the later years of the retired four-star general’s life. He later admitted that the decision to go forward with the invasion was a “blot” on his record.

This is a developing story 

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