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Colin Powell Dies at 84 From Covid-19 Complications

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Once retired, Mr. Powell, a lifelong independent while in uniform, was courted as a presidential contender by Republicans and Democrats, and became America’s most political general since Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote a best-selling memoir, “My American Journey,” and flirted with a run for the presidency before deciding in 1995 that campaigning for office wasn’t for him.

He returned to public service in 2001 as secretary of state to President George W. Bush, whose father Mr. Powell had served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs a decade earlier.

But in the Bush administration, Mr. Powell was the odd man out, fighting internally with Mr. Cheney, then vice president, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for the ear of President Bush and foreign policy dominance.

He left at the end of Mr. Bush’s first term under the cloud of an ever-worsening war in Iraq, and growing questions about whether he could have and should have done more to object to it.

He kept a lower profile for the next few years, but with just over two weeks left in the 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Powell, by then a declared Republican, gave a forceful endorsement to Senator Barack Obama, calling him a “transformational figure.”

Mr. Powell’s backing drew sharp criticism from conservative Republicans. But it eased the doubts among some independents, moderates and even some in his own party, and allayed some voters’ concerns about Mr. Obama’s lack of experience to be commander in chief.

Colin Luther Powell was born on April 5, 1937, in Harlem and reared in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. His parents, Luther Powell, a shipping-room foreman in Manhattan’s garment district, and mother, Maud Ariel McKoy, a seamstress, were immigrants from Jamaica.



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