Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84; see 5 facts about him

The first Black U.S. secretary of state, top military officer, and national security adviser, Colin Powell, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-1; see 5 facts about him.

Powell was the top U.S general when the country’s 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.

After the news of his death hit the internet, tributes started to pour in. Vice President Kamala Harris mourned the loss of Colin Powell Monday, 18 October 2021, describing him as a person who inspired many in the military and beyond.

Her statement reads: “Secretary Colin Powell dedicated his life to defending our nation. As National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State, he was an independent thinker and a barrier breaker who inspired leaders in our military and throughout our nation.

“Secretary Powell served our nation with courage, unwavering in his belief in its principles and its promise. The son of immigrants, Secretary Powell rose through the ranks of the United States Army. He was a decorated veteran and a devoted patriot.

“I last saw and spoke with Secretary Powell in July, at a dinner honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel. I was reminded then how he always showed the world the best of who we are. He upheld the highest standards, representing our nation with dignity, grace, and strength.

“The legacy that he leaves behind – on America’s national security and on the leaders he mentored – can be seen every day across our nation and the world.

“Douglas and I send our deepest condolences to Secretary Powell’s wife, Alma Powell, and their children and grandchildren.

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President Biden wasn’t left out. He issued a proclamation, ordering the flags at the White House and other federal buildings to half-staff until sunset on Friday in honor of the life and service of Colin Powell.

Part of the proclamation reads: “He led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. He repeatedly broke racial barriers, blazing a trail for others to follow, and was committed throughout his life to investing in the next generation of leadership. Colin Powell was a good man who I was proud to call my friend, and he will be remembered in history as one of our great Americans.

Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell

See 5 interesting facts about Colin Powell

Early life

Colin Luther Powell was born in New York City in 1937 to Luther and Maud Powell, who immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He was raised in the South Bronx and was educated in the New York City public schools.

He also graduated from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology.

Military career

Powell joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) while he attended the City College of New York. He described the experience as one of the happiest experiences of his life.

According to Powell: “It was only once I was in college, about six months into college, when I found something that I liked, and that was ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corps in the military. And I not only liked it, but I was pretty good at it. That’s what you really have to look for in life, something that you like, and something that you think you’re pretty good at. And if you can put those two things together, then you’re on the right track, and just drive on.”

Cadet Powell joined the Pershing Rifles, the ROTC fraternal organization and drill team begun by General John Pershing. Even after he had become a general, Powell kept on his desk a pen set he had won for a drill team competition.

After his graduation, he received a commission as an Army second lieutenant; at this time, the Army was newly-desegregated.

Political positions

In 2021 after the storming of the US Capitol, Powell switched to Independent from being a moderate Republican since 1995.

Colin Powell, who was the first African-American Secretary of State, was also an affluent American politician, diplomat, statesman, and four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005.

He served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.

Private life

Powell was married to Alma Johnson on 25 August 1962. The couple welcomed three children together, namely; Michael Powell, Linda Powell, and Annemarie Powell.

Their son, Michael, followed in his father’s footsteps. He was the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2001 to 2005. His daughters are Linda Powell, an actress, and Annemarie Powell.


On Monday, 18 October 2021, Powell, who was being treated for multiple myeloma, died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 84. He had been vaccinated, but his treatment had left his immune system compromised.

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