Former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell died Monday, October 18, 2021, of COVID-19 complications, leaving many to wonder if he was vaccinated against the virus.
The Powell family announced the death of the 84-year-old former general on his official Facebook page, saying, “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.”
The statement indicated Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to The Washington Post, Peggy Cifrino, a longtime aide of Powell’s, said Powell suffered from multiple myeloma, which the outlet described as “a form of blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infection,” as well as Parkinson’s disease.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19. He was fully vaccinated,” the statement said.
Despite the vaccine, the medically vulnerable Powell succumbed to the illness, which is why the Centers for Disease Control urges everyone to get the vaccine, especially those compromised with other conditions.
“Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 and helps protect you from severe illness even if you do get COVID-19,” according to the CDC.
Colin Powell Made History When He Became the First Black Man Named as US Secretary of State
According to CNN’s obituary coverage of Powell, he was “considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States.” His longtime service to the country began with combat duty in Vietnam and eventually led to Powell “becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush,” CNN reported.
Powell wasn’t without controversy during his political career. He was criticized when, according to CNN, he “pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War.”
Despite Powell never officially bidding for the presidency, he made history by becoming the highest-ranking Black man in office, just fourth in the line of succession to the American presidency.
“I think it shows to the world what is possible in this country,” Powell said during his 2001 Senate confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, according to CNN. “It shows to the world that: Follow our model, and over a period of time from our beginning if you believe in the values that espouse, you can see things as miraculous as me sitting before you to receive your approval.”
For most of Powell’s career he represented the Republican party but later felt “disillusioned” by the party and began to advocate for Democratic politicians, including former President Barack Obama, the outlet said.
Former President George W. Bush Calls Powell ‘Highly Respected’ Following the News of His Death
Shortly after the news of Powell’s death was made public, former President George W. Bush, who worked with Powell for many years, released a statement about his former friend and colleague.
“He was highly respected at home and abroad,” the statement said. “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.”
Powell served as United States Secretary of State alongside Bush from January 20, 2001, until January 26, 2005, according to the official state department’s obituary.
READ NEXT: Alma Powell, Colin Powell’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know