US military leader and statesman Colin Powell, who helped make the case for the Iraq War, has died aged 84.
Former prime minister Tony Blair said Mr Powell was a “towering figure” who “still had so much to give”.
The US statesman’s family said he had died from Covid-19 complications despite being fully vaccinated.
Mr Powell, who served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and as secretary of state, gave a landmark speech at the United Nations in 2003 detailing Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – claims that later turned out to be based on false intelligence.
Mr Blair, who led the UK into the war alongside the US, said: “Colin was a towering figure in American military and political leadership over many years, someone of immense capability and integrity, a hugely likeable and warm personality and a great companion, with a lovely and self-deprecating sense of humour.
“He was wonderful to work with, he inspired loyalty and respect and was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern.
His life stands as a testament not only to dedicated public service but also a strong belief in willingness to work across partisan division in the interests of his country.
“I am so sorry to hear the news of his death. He still had so much to give.”
The former prime minister offered his “thoughts and prayers” to Mr Powell’s widow and his “large and loving extended family”.