Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died due to complications from COVID-19, his family confirmed on Monday. He was 84.
“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," his family said in a statement posted to Powell's Facebook page.
"We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great American,” it added.
He was being treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, his family said.
Powell was fully vaccinated, according to his family, but CBS News reported he had been suffering from other health complications, including Parkinson's disease, at the time of his death.
Powell was a Vietnam war veteran who went on to become one of the most prominent Black Americans in politics as he broke multiple barriers in his decades-spanning military and public service careers.
Powell was the first Black secretary of state, serving under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 when the US embarked on its campaigns against Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was Powell's 2003 speech before the UN Security Council in which the US claimed former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was in possession of a rogue weapons of mass destruction program. That claim served as the backbone for the US's invasion of the country.
The speech is widely regarded as a low-point of Powell's career. No weapons of mass destruction were ever discovered, and the claim has been widely debunked.
Prior to assuming the top spot at the State Department Powell served as George H. W. Bush's national security advisor from 1987 to 1989, and was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
A lifelong Republican, Powell grew progressively disillusioned with the party later in life, and would go on to help Democrats win office, including his endorsement of President Joe Biden in his successful campaign against former President Donald Trump.