An official website of the United States government

Secretary Austin on the Passing of Former Secretary of State Colin Powell
October 18, 2021

I was informed earlier about the loss of Colin Powell, and I want to take just a second to express my deepest condolences to Alma, his wife, to his son Michael, and the entire Powell family. The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. Alma lost a great husband, and the family lost a tremendous father, and I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor. He’s been my mentor for a number of years. He always made time for me, and I could always go to him with tough issues, and he always had great counsel. We will certainly miss him. I feel as if I have a hole in my heart just learning this. The first African American Chairman of Joint Chiefs, the first African American Secretary of State, a man who was respected around the globe and quite frankly, it is not possible to replace Colin Powell. We will miss him. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family … I am deeply, deeply sad hearing this.