October 19, 2021, 08.19 AM
Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 84. Via Wikimedia.orgColin Powell, the former US secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 84.

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“Though we disagreed on many issues, I always respected him and was proud of his achievements. When he and I ran into each other and conversed, I always left feeling he was a sincere and committed man to what he believed in. RIP,” Sharpton tweeted.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europeans have lost a “trans-Atlantic bridge builder” following Powell's passing.

An extensive political background

Powell caused a stir with a speech in February 2003 to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The evidence he presented was later proven to be false.

“It's a blot ... and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.

Prior to his role as secretary of state, he served a tour in the Vietnam War as well as a White House Fellowship under President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1973.

He also became national security adviser for former President Ronald Reagan in 1987, while maintaining his military position as a lieutenant general in the US Army. As a four-star Army general, he was also chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the 1991 Gulf War in which US-led forces expelled Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait.

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