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Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications

Former U.S. Army Four Star General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at the funeral for the late U.S. Army Four Star General H. Norman Schwarzkopf at the Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, February 28, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Colin Powell, first Black U.S. secretary of state and top military officer, has died at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement on Facebook, Reuters report.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” his family said, thanking the staff of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington who treated Powell, but providing few details about his illness.

Powell was one of America’s most prominent black figures for decades. He served three Republican presidents in senior posts and reached the top of the U.S. military as it was regaining its vigor after the trauma of the Vietnam War.

He was the top U.S. general when U.S.-led forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991 and the chief U.S. diplomat when Washington relied on erroneous intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In a brief statement, the Powell family said he had died on Monday morning from COVID-19, had been fully vaccinated against the disease, and thanked the medical staff who cared for him.

The statement did not address such matters as what vaccine he received or whether he had gotten a booster shot, when he fell ill, when he may have been hospitalized and whether he may have had underlying health conditions that contributed to his illness.

U.S. news organisations reported that Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that reduces the body’s ability to fight infection.

Condolences poured in from Democrats as well as Powell’s fellow Republicans, including former President George W. Bush.