Colin Powell dies

By Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 7:32 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021
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10:01 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells

From CNN’s Jake Tapper

Gen. Colin Powell had multiple myeloma, according to a source familiar with the matter. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response.

Even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19, immunocompromised people are at greater risk from the coronavirus.

10:37 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Former Vice President Cheney calls Powell: "A man who loved his country and served her long and well"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

From left, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Secretary of State Colin Powell share a laugh in Rumsfeld's office in April 2001.
From left, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Secretary of State Colin Powell share a laugh in Rumsfeld's office in April 2001. (David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney expressed his sadness at the passing of Gen. Colin Powell. 

“I'm deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and statesman. General Powell had a remarkably distinguished career, and I was fortunate to work with him. He was a man who loved his country and served her long and well,” Cheney said in a statement. 

He praised his dedication and called him a “trailblazer and role model.”

Cheney and Powell both served under the Bush administration.

Read the full statement:

"I'm deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and statesman. General Powell had a remarkably distinguished career, and I was fortunate to work with him. He was a man who loved his country and served her long and well. 
"Working with him during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I saw first-hand General Powell’s dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform. Colin was a trailblazer and role model for so many: the son of immigrants who rose to become National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Secretary of State.
"Lynne and I extend our prayers and profound condolences to his wife, Alma, and to their children. His legacy and unparalleled record of service will never be forgotten."   

9:48 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

VA honors Colin Powell's service following his death

The US Department of Veterans Affairs tweeted an interview with the late Colin Powell following news of his death.

"He spoke of the service of those who served and his greatest title: Veteran," the VA tweeted.

Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush.

Watch the video:

9:50 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Months before he died, Colin Powell said he was distancing himself from the Republican Party. Here's why.

Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.

In his last few years, Powell, a retired US general and longtime Republican, was outspoken against conservative support for former President Donald Trump, and told CNN's Fareed Zakaria why he no longer considered himself a member of the Republican Party.

Powell criticized the party for supporting Trump's behavior following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.

"They did, and that's why 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. And right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties," he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on "GPS" in January.

Powell previously endorsed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, becoming one of the honorary co-chairs of President Obama’s inauguration.

Powell said he was concerned about what he characterized as a recent negative turn of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain's campaign, such as the campaign's attempts to tie Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.

"I think that's inappropriate. I understand what politics is about – I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for," he told NBC in 2008.

Powell was once seen as a possible presidential candidate himself.

9:26 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

NAACP president on Powell's death: "He was a good man who inspired many"

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has released a statement on the passing of Colin Powell.

“Colin Powell lived a life of honor and integrity,” the statement from NAACP President Derrick Johnson said. “A four-star general, the first Black US Secretary of State, and an NAACP Spingarn Medal recipient."

“He was a good man who inspired many,” Johnson went on to say. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this time.”

Powell was also the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush.

9:30 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

"I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor," Defense Secretary Austin says following Powell's death

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mourned former Secretary of State Colin Powell in his remarks on Monday morning.

"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 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," he said.

Austin also highlighted the significance of Powell's role as the first African-American secretary of state.

"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. Quite frankly, it is not possible to replace a Colin Powell. We will miss him. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and we're deeply, deeply saddened to learn of this."

WATCH:

9:41 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Reactions are pouring in after Powell's death 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy 

Political and military leaders are reacting this morning to the death of Colin Powell, who served as the first Black US secretary of state.

Here's what they're saying:

Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia.

Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan and an Iraq War veteran.

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York.

Anthony Foxx, former Transportation secretary.

Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican from Arkansas.

This post will be updated as more reactions come in.

8:58 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Congressional Black Caucus: Powell's legacy "will resonate for generations to come"

The Congressional Black Caucus said they are deeply saddened by the news of Colin Powell's death.

Powell was the first Black Secretary of State.

"His legacy of valor, and integrity will resonate for generations to come," the group tweeted.

9:15 a.m. ET, October 18, 2021

George W. Bush reacts to Colin Powell's death

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

George W. Bush and Colin Powell in 2002
George W. Bush and Colin Powell in 2002 (Brooks Kraft/Corbis/Getty Images)

Former Republican President George W. Bush just released a statement reacting to the death of his former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Bush said he was "deeply saddened" by Powell's death and called him "highly respected at home and abroad."

Read the full statement below:

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. 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. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. 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."