Colin Powell, the trailblazing soldier and statesman, has died from Covid complications at the age of 84. Powell was the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations has helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.
“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,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook, noting he was fully vaccinated.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they said.
The family thanked the staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where Powell was receiving care.
He had multiple myeloma, according to NBC News. It is a type of blood cancer that hurts the body’s ability to fight infections.
Multiple myeloma is twice as common—and twice as deadly—in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans. Additionally, the incidence of conditions associated with the development of myeloma (including monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or MGUS) is high in African Americans.
Powell also is a cancer survivor.
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 66, I wasn’t terribly surprised or shocked,” former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Powell said. “For the five years before that, I had been going for very regular checkups and my PSA was always high. It floated up and down. PSA alone doesn’t indicate cancer, it just says something is going on.”
Thankfully, Powell had the knowledge he needed to deal with this challenge, in addition to the understanding that cancer doesn’t care about reputation. He eventually overcame that before being diagnosed with…