Colin Powell, who was employed as the Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s presidential term, has passed away at the age of 84 as a result of complications from COVID-19. His family confirmed his passing, stating that “he was fully vaccinated.” 

In a Facebook post, Powell’s family mentioned, “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 grew up in a working-class family in Harlem. His parents were Jamaican immigrants. In 2012, he told NPR that while he served in the army, he found a culture where a Black man was able to chart his own path – where things like background, race, and income didn’t define a person. 

Although he was considered moderate by today’s political standards, Colin Powell was a Republican for most of his life. He served under three Republican presidents and was also Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser. 

However, in 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama, who was the then-Democratic presidential nominee, over Sen. John McCain. In 2016, he had a radically different political stance; Powell publicly stated that he would not vote for then-presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

In 2020, after Trump said he would use military force against those protesting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Powell said, “We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it.”

While Powell said he would vote for Biden during the 2020 campaign, it was only after the January 6 Capitol insurrection that he completely severed ties with the Republicans. 

Shortly after, he told CNN, “I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now. I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. He added, “Right now, I’m just watching my country, and not concerned about parties.”