Former Republican secretary of state Colin Powell has died at the age of 84.
Tributes poured in from around the world for the man who had served his country for four decades as a soldier, politician and diplomat. Leading the tributes was Joe Biden, who hailed Powell as “a dear friend and patriot of unmatched honor and dignity”.
The US president had worked with Powell for a number of years whilst serving as a Democratic senator. His statement continued:
“As a Senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.
“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong.”
Current US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, was full of praise for his predecessor, saying that the world had lost an “extraordinary leader and a great man”
“He believed that America could and should lead with confidence and humility. That the world was safer when the United States was engaged and its allies and partners united.” Blinken added.
A statement released by Powell’s family revealed that the retired four-star general had died from complications related to Covid-19. Powell was vaccinated, but his immune system had been compromised by multiple myeloma, for which he had been undergoing treatment.
Mr. Powell made history by serving as his nation’s first Black national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, something referenced in the tribute from US vice president Kamala Harris, who is the first black woman to hold the role.
Powell notably broke with his Republican roots in 2008 when he endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency, having grown disillusioned with his party’s swing to the right.