Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, died on Monday at the age of 84 from COVID-19 complications despite being fully vaccinated.
“He was fully vaccinated,” Powell’s family said in a statement, according to Reuters. “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.”
Powell was the first black Secretary of State, serving in Bush’s Cabinet from 2001-2005. Bush has already released a statement paying tribute to Powell in the wake of his passing.
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell,” he said, according to Fox News. “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.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney also honored Powell, saying he was “deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and a statesman.”
“General Powell had a remarkably distinguished career, and I was fortunate to work with him,” Cheney said, going on to say that he “was a man who loved his country and served her long and well.” He added that he saw “first-hand” Powell’s “dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform.”
Last year, Powell endorsed Joe Biden while giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way,” Powell said in August of 2020. “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
Born in 1937, Powell was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star during his service in the Vietnam War. He went on to receive 11 military decorations, including the Legion of Merit.
Powell launched his political career while Richard Nixon was in office when he worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget. During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Powell served as an assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Powell to serve as National Security Adviser in 1987, and he held this until 1989. In 1989, George H.W. Bush appointed Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which he held until 1993.
Powell is survived by his wife Alma and their three children.