KOMPAS.com - Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has died of complications from the coronavirus, his Facebook page announced on Monday. He was 84.
“He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great American,” Powell's family said in a post on his Facebook page.
Powell was the first Black US secretary of state and served between 2001 and 2005 under the Bush administration. He was known as a moderate Republican.
“General Powell is an American hero, an American example, and a great American story,” former president George W. Bush said as he announced Powell's nomination.
“In directness of speech, his towering integrity, his deep respect for our democracy, and his soldier’s sense of duty and honor, Colin Powell demonstrates ... qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people of this country.”
Bush 'deeply saddened'
Bush offered his condolences following the news of Powell's death, saying that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened.”
“He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man,” Bush said in a statement.
President Joe Biden said Powell “embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat.”
Meanwhile, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton praised Powell for his “sincerity and commitment.”
“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.Dapatkan update berita pilihan dan breaking news setiap hari dari Kompas.com. Mari bergabung di Grup Telegram "Kompas.com News Update", caranya klik link https://t.me/kompascomupdate, kemudian join. Anda harus install aplikasi Telegram terlebih dulu di ponsel.