Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State, has died of COVID-19 complications, his family said Monday. He was 84.
In 1989, Powell became the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role, he oversaw the US invasion of Panama and later the US invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.
But his reputation suffered a painful setback when Powell went to the UN Security Council in 2003 and raised the issue of American war against Iraq. He cited defective information claiming that Saddam Hussein had secretly concealed weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had not represented “a web of lies”, he told the world body.
In a statement on social media, the family said Powell was fully vaccinated.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American,” the family said.
Former President George W. Bush said he and former First Lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.
“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most importantly, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man. ”
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