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SC leaders react to death of former U.S. Sec. of State Colin Powell

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 12:21 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCSC/AP) - Leaders are mourning the death of retired Gen. Colin Powell, who served as the nation’s first Black secretary of state.

Powell died Monday morning at Walter Reed National Medical Center from complications of COVID-19, his family said on his Facebook page. Powell had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the post states.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott mourned retired Gen. Colin Powell whom Scott called one of America’s strongest leaders.

“Colin Powell will forever be remembered as a great public servant and American patriot,” Scott said. “He dedicated his life to this nation and broke countless barriers along the way. He was a trailblazer as Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his service inspired and paved the way for many of today’s—and tomorrow’s—greatest leaders. While I am heartbroken to hear of his passing, I am grateful for his life of service that touched not only our nation, but every corner of the world. I salute his legacy and know that it will live on for generations to come.”

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Twitter that he was “surprised and saddened to hear of one of the great American leaders of any time.”

“His service to our nation was legendary on so many fronts,” Graham said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said the country was mourning “one of our finest statesmen.”

Our country is grateful for General Powell’s leadership and for his service. Please join Peggy and me in praying for General Powell’s wife, Alma, and the rest of their family.

Powell served as former President George W. Bush’s first secretary of state.

Bush said Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s death.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “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.”

Powell rose to national prominence under Republican presidents and considered a presidential bid of his own, but ultimately moved away from the party. He endorsed Democrats in the last four presidential elections, starting with former President Barack Obama. He emerged as a vocal Donald Trump critic in recent years, describing Trump as “a national disgrace” who should have been removed from office through impeachment.

Following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, Powell said he no longer considered himself a Republican.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.