By Emmanuel Nduka
The first Black US Secretary of State, Collin Powell, has died from Covid-19 complications at the age of 84, his family announced on Facebook on Monday.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid-19.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family wrote, noting that he was fully vaccinated.
Powell whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American Foreign Policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duties in Vietnam, to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency
He was the youngest and first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush.
His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, as he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States.
Bush said in a statement on Monday that Powell was “a great public servant” who 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.”
Powell is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell, whom he married in 1962, and three children.