USA

Colin Powell: Former US Secretary of State and retired general dies

Gen Powell reached the four-star rank of general in his military career which finished in 1993.

Former United States joint chiefs chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell has died from COVID-19 complications, aged 84.

He was the first African American to serve in those roles and also had a 35-year career in the US military.

Gen Powell reached the four-star rank of general in an Armed Forces career which finished in 1993.

In 2003, Gen Powell went before the UN Security Council and made the case for the war against Iraq.

General Colin Powell 061189 CREDIT EVERETT COLLECTION HISTORICAL ALAMY
Colin Powell served in the American military until 1993 (Picture: Everett Historical Collection/Alamy).

In an announcement on social media, his family said he had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus prior to his death.

"We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American," the family said.

In a post on Twitter, Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Defence Select Committee, paid tribute to Gen Powell, describing him as "an incredible role model".

Following news of Gen Powell's death, former Prime Minister Sir John Major released a statement describing him as "one of the finest men I ever met.  And, perhaps, one of the finest Americans never to be President".

Sir John continued: "Both in the military and in government he led with calm authority and was an inspiration to all those who served alongside him.

"During the first Gulf War – as Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff – we could not have wished for a stronger ally, nor one who commanded such affection and respect from our own Armed Forces."

He added: "Throughout his long and exceptional career, Colin served with honour and distinction. He was a true public servant, who I was proud to call a friend."