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'Denver Is Where I Grew Up': Madeleine Albright Credited Colorado With Helping Her Believe In The American Dream

DENVER (CBS4) -- Madeleine Albright, the first woman to ever serve as secretary of state, has died of cancer, her family said. She was 84.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright participates in a moderated conversation about her new book, Fascism: A Warning, for Georgetown University students, faculty and staff in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 16: Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright participates in a moderated conversation about her new book, Fascism: A Warning, for Georgetown University students, faculty and staff on April, 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Albright was born in Czechoslovakia but raised in Colorado. Her family was driven out by Nazi storm troopers, and then by communists, and moved to Denver in 1948.

"Denver is where I grew up believing in the American dream," she said in her speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 in Denver, an event she described as "a homecoming."

Albright attended Kent Denver School and won the Rocky Mountain Empire Award "for reciting, in alphabetical order, the 51 members of the United Nations."

She held a summer job at the Denver Post where she met her former husband, Joseph Medill Patterson Albright.

Her father, Josef Korbelova, was the founding dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

She served as the first woman Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement:

"Today, we mourn the loss of a true pioneer and history-maker with proud, deep roots in Colorado where her family moved when she was a young girl. Coloradans, Americans, and people around the world will be indebted to her service. Secretary Albright went on to serve as the first female U.S. Secretary of State, carrying with her a legacy of firsts. My heart goes out to former Secretary Albright's loved ones and the international community, where her life continues to teach our nation and the world lessons of determination, wisdom, and grace in times of peace or unrest."

Flags on all public buildings in Colorado will be flown at half-staff starting immediately until Sunday, March 27, as ordered by Polis.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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