Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84

Former U.S. Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell died on Monday of complications from COVID-19, his family announced in a social media post. 

“We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” a Facebook post from Powell’s family read. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Powell was receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center for COVID-19 and previously diagnosed multiple myeloma, a kind of cancer that diminishes the immune response, at the time of his death. He was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but his age and other health conditions put him at higher risk for complications from the virus.

He was the first black American to serve as Secretary of State. Serving under George W. Bush, he identified as a Republican and was highly respected by those in both parties becuase of his impeccable military record during his tenure as a top official in the Bush administration.

Bush “saddened” by Powell death

Bush said he was “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death and described him as a “great public servant” of whom “many presidents” sought advice.

“He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man,” he added.

Powell later stopped identifying as a Republican because of a distaste for then-President Donald Trump and just said he voted his conscience.

He was criticized in hindsight for testifying that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” as a justification to invade them in 2003; it was later disputed that the nation actually had such weapons.

Fox anchor deletes tweet about Powell’s death

Fox News news anchor John Roberts tweeted about Powell’s death asking whether it would cause “new concerns” about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, but he quickly deleted the tweet after reactions made it clear it was being perceived as an anti-vaccine viewpoint.

Out of 187 million Americans fully vaccinated against the virus, around 7,000 have died; 6,000 of those have been over age 65. These numbers indicate that dying from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated is rare at any age, and extremely rare for those under age 65 who are otherwise in good health.

Roberts said he supported vaccines and didn’t mean to suggest that they didn’t work.

He also said he supported booster shots for those who had been vaccinated months ago because of “troubling” breakthrough infections he had seen among friends and others he knew.

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