WASHINGTON – Colin Powell, the trailblazing soldier and statesman, has died from Covid complications at the age of 84.
He had been treated for multiple myeloma, according to NBC News. It is a type of blood cancer that hurts the body’s ability to fight infections. Fully vaccinated people with weakened immune systems make up a large proportion of hospitalized breakthrough cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Powell, who served in the military from the early days of the Vietnam era through America’s first war with Iraq, was the nation’s first Black national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of State.
Leaders and former colleagues hailed him as a leader and a hero. Former President George W. Bush, whom Powell served as secretary of State, praised him as a “great public servant.” His successor at the State Department, Condoleezza Rice, called Powell “a truly great man.”
President Joe Biden called Powell his friend and fondly remembered that the late statesman and general “could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business.”
“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all,” Biden said in a statement. “Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity.”
Biden ordered flags to be lowered in Powell’s honor through Friday.
Powell, who identified as a Republican, didn’t always toe the party line. He endorsed Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their presidential campaigns.
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