Retired four-star general, White House national security adviser, and the first African-American Secretary of State Colin Powell died Monday at the age of 84.
The cause of death was not immediately revealed, but according to reports, Powell who was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 was being treated at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that can limit the body’s ability to fight infection. Powell was being treated at Walter Reed when he died. COVID-19 complications contributed to his death, reports said.
Born in Harlem, NY on April 5, 1937, of immigrant parents from Jamaica, Powell first joined the Army – via the ROTC program at the City College of New York.
He rose through the ranks of the by then- desegregated Army eventually serving two tours in Vietnam. Later Powell served as national security adviser near the end of the Reagan administration, and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. In 1991 and 1993, Powell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
Powell retired from the military in 1993 but came out of retirement in 2001 to serve as secretary of state for President George W. Bush’s administration. In that capacity, he made the case for the Iraq War before the United Nations Security Council.
In 2008 he was listed as a possible running mate for Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
Gov. Ron DeSantis praised Powell as a trailblazer.
“Powell greatly influenced U.S. foreign policy and will be remembered as a trailblazing soldier, leader, and public servant,” DeSantis said.
To honor him, DeSantis has directed the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida immediately until sunset on Friday, October 22, 2021.
Colin Powell is survived by Alma Powell, his wife of 60 years, and their children Michael, Linda, and Annemarie.