Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. Powell was also the youngest person and first African-American to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Although he served in a Republican administration, later in his public life, he would grow disillusioned with the party's rightward lurch and would use his political capital to help elect Democrats to the White House, most notably Barack Obama, the first Black president whom Powell endorsed in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign.
Here's a look back at some key moments from his career as secretary of state and beyond:
- Nov. 1987-Jan. 1989 - National security adviser to President Ronald Reagan.
- 1989-1994 - Commander in chief of the Forces Command at Ft. McPherson, Georgia.
- Oct. 1, 1989-Sept. 30, 1993 - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Jan. 20, 2001- Is appointed and unanimously confirmed as secretary of state.
- Jan. 26, 2001 - Is sworn in as the 65th secretary of state of the United States.
- Feb. 5, 2003 - Powell addresses the United Nations Security Council to present the United States’ case against Iraq under UN Resolution 1441 regarding weapons of mass destruction.
- Dec. 15, 2003 - Undergoes surgery for prostate cancer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was diagnosed with the disease earlier in the year.
- Nov. 15, 2004 - The White House announces President Bush has accepted Powell’s letter of resignation dated Nov. 12. The letter states he will remain in office until his successor is confirmed.
- Jan. 26, 2005 - Powell’s resignation becomes effective with the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice.
- 2005 - Joins the California venture capital firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers as a “strategic limited partner.”
- March 2006 - The National War College Foundation establishes the Colin Powell Chair for National Security, Leadership, Character and Ethics.
- Summer 2007 - Begins to speak out against the Bush administration’s decision to go war against Iraq, the increase in troop strength in Iraq and the treatment of prisons at Guantanamo Bay.
- Jan. 20, 2009 - Is one of the honorary co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Powell endorsed Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
- Feb. 3, 2010 - Powell reverses his stance on gays and lesbians in the military; his opposition to homosexuals in the military helped lead to the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the 1990s.
- 2012 - Publishes a second memoir, “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership,” with Tony Koltz.
- Oct. 7, 2018 - Powell, along with former secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright makes a cameo appearance on the CBS show “Madam Secretary.”
- June 1, 2019 - Along with his wife Alma, Powell receives the Lincoln Medal, an award given by Ford’s Theatre Society. The society celebrates those who embody the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.
- Jan. 10, 2021 - Following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, Powell says he no longer considers himself a Republican.
Read more about Powell's career here.
CNN's Devan Cole contributed reporting to this post.