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U.S. & Maryland Leaders React To News Of Gen. Colin Powell's Death

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) -- As word spread Monday of General Colin Powell's passing, so too did reactions from public officials whose lives he touched.

Powell, who was fully vaccinated, died Monday morning of complications resulting from COVID-19, his family announced in a Facebook post. He was 84.

"We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment," his family wrote. "We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American."

Powell, a career military man, rose through the ranks to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989. He made history when he became the first Black U.S. Secretary of State in 2001.

In a statement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called Powell a trailblazer and said the general's "remarkable lifetime of service embodied what it meant to put country first."

"As our first Black Secretary of State, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and national security adviser, he was a true trailblazer whose love for America always surpassed personal ambition," Hogan said in part.

President George W. Bush, one of several presidents Powell directly advised during his career, also lamented the passing of the general in a statement posted on social media.

"He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the President Medal of Freedom -- twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend," Bush said.

Rev. Al Sharpton said even though he and Powell found themselves on the opposite sides of issues, that didn't diminish his respect for the general.

"Though we disagreed on many issues, I always respected him and was proud of his achievements. When he and I ran into each other and conversed, I always left feeling he was a sincere and committed man to what he believed in," Sharpton said.

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson described Powell as an "irreplaceable" statesman and advisor to U.S. presidents who left a lasting legacy on the nation.

"We are all grateful for his life's dedication to America, which began with service in Vietnam to the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the first Gulf War to 9/11," Ferguson said. "Secretary Powell helped steer our nation for decades amidst complicated and complex times, all the while leading with integrity and a sound moral compass."

U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., remembered Powell as a "model soldier, military leader, public servant, statesman, and patriot," whose career set an "example for what was possible as a Black man in America."

"Our country has lost a hero," Brown said. "An American who recognized his own faults and failings, but nevertheless persevered to continue to do everything in his power to service his country and make it stronger."

Powell is survived by his wife, Alma, and the couple's three children.

Reporting by CNN contributed to this report.

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