BOSTON (CBS) – Former Massachusetts senator and Secretary of State John Kerry reacted to the death of Colin Powell Monday due to complications from COVID-19, calling Powell a "patriot."
Powell, 84, was the first Black secretary of state. His family said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was fully vaccinated. Powell's wife, Alma, also had a breakthrough COVID case, but responded to treatment.
Powell served in top roles under four presidents, first as national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and then as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, the first African-American to hold the role. Powell then was tapped by President George W. Bush as secretary of state.
"He was a patriot – the real kind," Kerry said in a statement. "He measured patriotism in service to the country, not the words about the country. He was a person of great intellect, heart, and determination. There's a reason four decades of presidents, senators, and leaders everywhere sought his counsel, and we would all do right to emulate his humility."
Kerry said Powell met with anyone who became secretary of state, regardless of political party, to welcome them to "the club" and offer confidential advice about the job.
"He wanted all of us to succeed," Kerry said. "He cared for the men and women of the career service the same way he cared for his troops in battle."
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