New York: Former United States secretary of the state Colin Powell died at the age of 84 from complications from Covid-19. The news was announced on Monday, The Guardian reported. Powell had played a chief role in attempting to justify the US' 2003 invasion of Iraq, with the Bush administration's lies that Iraq held destructive weapons.
Powell had been treated for Covid-19 at Walter Reed national medical centre in Bethesda, Maryland, where he died. He was fully vaccinated but had a compromised immune system because he was under treatment for blood cancer. He was reportedly diagnosed with Parkinson disease also.
Announcing his death, Powell's family said they lost a "remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American", The Guardian quoted.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden conveyed that the passing of their dear friend deeply saddened them. They said in their statement that Powell was a patriot of unmatched honour and dignity, and he has repeatedly broken racial barriers, inspiring many. Joe Biden added that Powell led with his commitment to democratic values making the country strong.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Powell was an incredible American, served with dignity and grace and was a trailblazing inspiration through and how he worked.
Former President Bush said that Powell was a great servant, a favourite of presidents, as he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice. He added that Powell was highly respected at home and abroad. Former President Barack Obama said that Powell never denied the role he played both in his life and the society. He also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, Obama added, while appreciating him for endorsing Obama for president.
Powell was America's first Black secretary of state. He served under George W Bush from 2001 to 2005. Despite disadvantaged beginnings in his career, he rose to heights of military and diplomatic service. He was born to a Jamaican couple and was educated through public schools before entering the army via a college officer training programme.
He was in charge of the military crisis, including Panama's invasion in 1989 and the first Gulf war in 1990-91. He retired as a four-star general and served as chairman of joint chiefs of staff in the 1990s.
After his time in government, Powell remained an influential commentator on US politics and public life. He later stood against the Republican party's rightward drift. Despite party rivalries, he endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 and later became a staunch critic of Donald Trump. He voted against Trump in 2016 and 2020 and reacted to the January US Capitol insurgence that he was "disgusted" by the insurrection of Trump supporters.