Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has died at 84 due to complications relating to COVID-19. He was vaccinated and was scheduled to receive a booster shot, which had to be delayed due to health complications. His immune system was compromised from multiple myeloma, for which he had been undergoing treatment.

Powell made history by becoming the first black national security adviser, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and secretary of state.

Under the Reagan administration, Powell helped negotiate arms treaties with the Soviet Union. He later went on to become a lead figure in the invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War.

He was a very popular personality in American politics, being named the most popular public figure in the United States in 1993, following his retirement from the military.

Powell returned to public service under the Bush administration as secretary of state, but retired after Bush’s first term after the war in Iraq had begun. He later said that not doing more to attempt to stop the war was a lifelong regret after having overhyped U.S. intelligence at the U.N.

He kept a low profile for years after his second retirement but made the headlines for endorsing former President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, despite being a Republican. He continued to support the Democratic party endorsing both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020.

Powell was also very critical of former President Donald Trump, bashing him in leaked emails.

“Trump is a national disgrace and an international pariah,” he wrote in one email. He also called the “birther movement,” the idea that Obama wasn’t born in the United States that Trump is credited for popularizing, racist.

Outside of his life in politics, Powell started a non-profit organization to help at-risk children and served as the chairman of the board of visitors of the School for Civic and Global Leadership in the City University of New York, where the school for diplomacy is named after him.

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