Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell dies from Covid-19

18 October 2021, 13:11 | Updated: 18 October 2021, 15:10

Colin Powell has died aged 84.
Colin Powell has died aged 84. Picture: Getty

By Sophie Barnett

Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, has died due to complications from Coronavirus, his family has said.

In a statement on Facebook, Mr Powell's family said they have lost a "remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American".

They said he passed away on Monday morning due to complications from Coronavirus, despite being fully vaccinated.

"We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment," they added.

The 84-year-old served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African-American Secretary of State.

He was also chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a 35-year veteran of the US Army.

Read more: Politicians must not be ‘cowed’ by those who ‘spread hate’, Downing Street says

Read more: Sir David Amess: Suspect's father 'is ex-adviser to Somali prime minister'

When he was sworn in as George Bush's Secretary of State in 2001, he became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the US, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession.

Mr Powell played a key role in the response to the 9/11 terror attacks - and in making a case for the Iraq war.

Former President George W. Bush was one of the first to pay tribute to the "family man and friend".

He said Mr Powell was a "great public servant and was highly respected at home and abroad", adding he was such a favourite that he "earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice".

In a statement, he said: "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell.

"He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my administration.

"He was such a favourite 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.

"Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man."

Tony Blair also paid tribute to the former US Secretary of State.

Read more: Man arrested over death threat to MP Chris Bryant one day after David Amess killing

The former prime minister said the American statesman was a "towering figure" who "still had so much to give".

Mr Blair, who led the UK into the 2003 war, said: "Colin was a towering figure in American military and political leadership over many years, someone of immense capability and integrity, a hugely likeable and warm personality and a great companion, with a lovely and self-deprecating sense of humour.

"He was wonderful to work with, he inspired loyalty and respect and was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern.

"His life stands as a testament not only to dedicated public service but also a strong belief in willingness to work across partisan division in the interests of his country."