Former US secretary of state dies of COVID complications

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Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has died aged 84 of COVID-19 complications, his family has announced.

He was a former top military officer who rose to become the first African-American secretary of state in 2001 under Republican George W Bush.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” a statement said.

“We want to thank the medical staff… for their caring treatment,” it added.

The statement said that he had been fully vaccinated against COVID.

George W Bush was among the first to pay tribute to “a family man and a friend” who “was such a favourite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice”.

Mr Powell, a moderate Republican who broke with his party to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, became a trusted military adviser to a number of leading US politicians.

He also saw service and was wounded in Vietnam, an experience that later helped define his own military and political strategies.

However, for many he is associated with the role he played in garnering support for the Iraq war, admitting a speech to the United Nations Security Council using faulty intelligence was “a blot” on his record.

“It was painful. It’s painful now,” Mr Powell told ABC News in 2005. (BBC)

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