General Colin L. Powell, who served as the United States’ top soldier, diplomat and national security adviser in his four decades of public life, and whose speech at the UN in 2003 paved the way for the US to go to war in Iraq, died on Monday due to complications from COVID-19, The New York Times reports.
The statement family of the former US secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced his passing on his Facebook page, informing that Colin Powell passed away at the Walter Reed National Medical Center.
According to their post, Powell was fully vaccinated.
Serving as the country’s first African American national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, and secretary of state, Powell was a path breaker with a remarkable career path that enjoyed public approval and popularity.
As President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser at the end of the Cold War, he helped negotiate arms treaties and a cooperation era with the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev while as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he was the architect of the invasion of Panama in 1989 and of the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
Powell reshaped the American Cold War military along with then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, stamping the Powell Doctrine on military operations.
His reputation took a strong hit during his term as Bush’s first secretary of state when he presented faulty intelligence before the UN to advocate for the war in Iraq.
In a statement Monday, Bush said that Powell was a great public servant who highly respected at home and abroad and was “such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice”.