Colin Powell, the first black secretary of state in U.S. history and an Army general who helped shape U.S. policy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, has died of COVID-19 complications, his family said in a statement posted on Facebook on Monday.

The Powell family stated, “General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19.”

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great American,” they added. The family also thanked the staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to the statement. 

Colin Powell was a trailblazer for African-Americans. Born to Jamaican immigrant parents, he rose from humble beginnings in Harlem, NY, to join the Army in 1958 after attending ROTC at the City College of New York.