Former US official Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complications
Former United States official Colin Luther Powell has died at the age of 84 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. Powell's family said in a statement that the veteran US military officer and diplomat died of COVID-19 complications despite being fully vaccinated. He was the former Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, and National Security Adviser.
Four decades of public life and key appointments
Colin Luther Powell had had an illustrious career over four decades in public life. He held several key appointments, becoming the nation's first African-American National Security Adviser, Chairperson of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State under various US administrations. His infamous 2003 speech at the United Nations—later found to contain inaccuracies—cleared the way for the US to go to war with Iraq.
Born in Harlem, Powell was a decorated Vietnam war vet
Powell was born in Harlem to Jamaican parents on April 5, 1937. He grew up in South Bronx and graduated from City College of New York. He joined the US Army through Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) as a Second Lieutenant in the newly desegregated US Army. He completed two decorated combat tours of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Powell played influential role in US administration
In President Ronald Reagan's administration, Powell was named the National Security Adviser. During the Cold War with the Soviet, Powell helped negotiate arms treaties and cooperated with Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. As the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs in the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, Powell also managed the Panama invasion in 1989 along with the First Gulf War in 1991 in Kuwait.
Second stint as Secretary of State
A lifelong independent, Powell was courted by both the Democrats and the Republicans. In 1995, he published a best-selling memoir titled 'My American Journey'. In 2001, he served as Secretary of State in the administration of President George W Bush. However, his tenure was not pleasant due to infighting and he left at the end of Bush's first term in 2005.
Powell was awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom twice
Powell has earned several civilian honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice: once from President George HW Bush and another from President Bill Clinton. He married his wife Alma in 1962 and the couple has three children: Michael, Linda, and Annemarie. Since 2008, he has supported and endorsed Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the current US President Joe Biden.