Four-star general Colin Powell, who served as the US Secretary of State in the first George W. Bush administration, has passed away from COVID-19 complications at the age of 84 – even though he had undergone full vaccination.

Powell died on Monday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, his family announced in a statement, thanking the hospital staff and describing the late general and diplomat as “a great American.”

America’s post-9/11 top diplomat

Gen. Colin Powell served from 2001 until 2005 as the Secretary of State for Republican President George W. Bush becoming the first African-American to hold the post and at the time the highest-ranking African-American member of the US executive branch.

He was instrumental in responding to the 9/11 terrorists attacks and in the waging of the war on terror by the George W. Bush administration.

According to the State Department, Powell was among “the foremost supporters” of “swift military action” against al-Qaeda, the Islamist terrorist network that perpetrated 9/11.

At the time, he demanded the immediate collaboration of Afghanistan and Pakistan for the hunting down of the terrorists.

Powell was also instrumental in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the ensuing Second Gulf War / Second Iraq War, presenting in February 2003 evidence that Saddam Hussain was making weapons of mass destruction to the UN.

In 2004, the State Department admitted that some of the evidence in question had been “erroneous.”

At the time, Powell, however, was in favor of first getting a large coalition of allies and a long-term plan for occupation before invading Iraq – but the George W. Bush administration went ahead with the attack earlier than those were ready.

During his term as America’s top diplomat, Powell sought to strengthen America’s relations with Russia and China and worked for international collaboration on opposing the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran.

He scored major non-proliferation success in 2003 when the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya gave up its nuclear program.

‘Highly respected’

Powell’s parents were immigrants from Jamaica.

He was born in Harlem, NYC, on April 5, 1937, and raised in the South Bronx.

He graduated from City College in New York, where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and went on to served for 35 years in the US military.

Later he obtained an MBA from George Washington University.

He was among the 16,000 military advisors sent by then-President John F. Kennedy to South Vietnam in 1962, and served another tour in Vietnam in 1968-1969 where he saved his fellow soldiers in a helicopter crash while being injured.

In the Jimmy Carter administration, Powell served as an assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

In 1987-1989, he served as the National Security Adviser of President Ronald Reagan.

Under President George H.W. Bush, Powell was the Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff from 1989 until 1993 when he oversaw Operation Desert Storm, the First Gulf War, in 1991.

From 1993 until 2000, he worked on the NGO that he founded, America’s Promise Alliance, for helping at-risk children. He returned to it after 2005.

In 2020, Powell address the Democratic National Convention endorsing Joe Biden for president of the United States – perhaps little being able to imagine that Biden was going to lose the war in Afghanistan in no time and surrender America to the Taliban.

In his letter of condolences for Powell’s passing, former Republican President George W. Bush described his first Secretary of State as “highly respected at home and abroad.”