Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has died aged 84 due to coronavirus complications.
Powell, who became the first African-American to act as America's top diplomat following his 2001 appointment by President George W. Bush, died on Monday after being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
His family wrote on his Facebook page: "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. He was fully vaccinated.
"We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American."
Powell began a trailblazing military career as a U.S. Army second lieutenant in 1958, serving in the Vietnam War before becoming the first Black national security adviser during President Ronald Reagan's second term. He subsequently rose to become the youngest and first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Reagan's successor President George H.W. Bush - becoming a regular media presence during the First Gulf War.
Although touted as a possible presidential candidate, he never sought the Republican Party's nomination and served as Secretary of State at the time of the 9/11 attacks and Iraq War, stepping down at the end of George W. Bush's first term in 2005.
He later broke with his party to back Barack Obama in his successful 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, as well as supporting Hillary Clinton in her defeat to President Donald Trump in 2016, and Joe Biden in his victorious 2020 run against the same opponent.
Powell is survived by his wife Alma, their son Michael, and two daughters Annemarie and Linda.