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(051909 Boston, MA) Colin Powell talks to the audience during the Chamber's Centennial Celebration. Tuesday, May 19, 2009. Staff photo by John Wilcox.

Source: MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Getty

Colin Powell, the nation’s first Black secretary of state and formidable military leader who helped shape American politics for more than two decades passed away Monday (October 18). He was 84.

Powell died from complications due to COVID-19, according to his family. The former four-star general and Condoleeza Rice were the highest-ranking African Americans in the history of the federal executive branch until the election of Barack Obama as President in 2008 and Kamala Harris as Vice President in 2020. He was also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993 during the Gulf War.

A statement on Powell’s Facebook page read the following:

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. He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.

The Powell Family

Born in New York City on April 5, 1937, Powell joined the military early in his life, becoming a professional soldier for 35 years. In 1989, he was promoted to Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command. He oversaw the Powell Doctrine, a military strategy that limited American military action unless it satisfied national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support criteria.

On numerous occasions, Powell pondered a run for President with the Republican Party but never did, citing a lack of passion for politics, even as he was touted to run as a Democrat in 1992 or even replace Vice President Dan Quayle.

Our thoughts and prayers to the Powell family during this difficult time.

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Colin Powell, First Black Secretary Of State And Military Leader, Passes Away  was originally published on