Tributes from government leaders pour in over the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell

Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell died on Monday of complications from COVID-19.
  • Powell death’s elicited condolences and remembrance from government leaders and politicians.
  • “He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice,” said former President George W. Bush.

Colin Powell, a trailblazing leader who served as the top US soldier, diplomat, and national security advisor, died on Monday.

The 84-year-old, who died of complications from COVID-19, was fully vaccinated and had been treated at the Walter Reed National Medical Center, according to his family.

His death elicited sorrow among the numerous government leaders who he’d interacted with during his extensive service in Washington, DC, and across the country.

Former President George W. Bush, who tapped Powell to serve as Secretary of State in his administration, released a statement praising him and honoring his service to the United States.

“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell,” the former president said. “He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience.”

Bush added: “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.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mourned Powell’s death after the news was released, calling him a “tremendous friend and mentor.”

“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. Alma lost a great husband, and the family lost a tremendous father. And I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor,” he said. “He has been my mentor for a number of years. He always made time for me and I could always go to him with tough issues. He always had great counsel. We will certainly miss him.”

Austin also paid homage to Powell becoming the first Black secretary of state in US history in 2001.

“I feel as if I have a hole in my heart just learning of this just recently. First African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first African-American secretary of State, a man who was respected around the globe,” he said. “Quite frankly, it is not possible to replace a Colin Powell. We will miss him.”

Ret. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2011 to 2015, on Monday praised his longtime friend.

“Just learned of the passing of my friend and mentor, Colin Powell. A superb soldier, statesman, and lifelong public servant. God bless him and his family,” he wrote on Twitter.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who represents a military-heavy state, spoke highly of Powell’s service to the country.

“General Powell was a patriot and a public servant. May he rest in peace,” he wrote on Twitter.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah in a statement heralded Powell and his lifetime of service to the country.

“Today, the nation lost a man of undaunted courage and a champion of character. A statesman & trailblazer, devoted to America and the cause of liberty, Colin Powell’s legacy of service & honor will long inspire. Ann & I offer our love & sincere condolences to Alma and his family,” he wrote on Twitter.