Colin Powell, U.S. soldier and diplomat, dies of COVID-19 complications

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, top military officer and national security adviser, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement on Facebook.

Powell had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, said a source who asked not to be named. The condition reduces the body’s ability to fight infection and puts people at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” his family said, thanking the staff of the military hospital near Washington who treated Powell, but providing few details about his illness.

Among America’s leading military and political figures for decades, Powell served three Republican presidents in senior posts and climbed to the top of the military as it was regaining its vigor after the trauma of the war in Vietnam, where he served two tours. read more

He was the top U.S. general when U.S.-led forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991 and the chief U.S. diplomat when Washington relied on erroneous intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In a brief statement, the Powell family said he had died on Monday morning from COVID-19, had been fully vaccinated against the disease, and thanked the medical staff at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who cared for him.

The statement did not address such matters as what vaccine he received or whether he had gotten a booster shot, when he fell ill, when he may have been hospitalized and whether he had underlying health conditions that contributed to his illness.

Condolences poured in from Democrats such as U.S. President Joe Biden as well as Powell’s fellow Republicans.

“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat,” Biden said in a statement, describing Powell as a “patriot of unmatched honor and dignity” and a man who “could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business.”