ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Colin Powell, the country's first Black U.S. Secretary of State has died due to COVID-19 complications. Family members made the announcement Monday morning, and say he was fully vaccinated. 

Powell had ties to Georgia. After graduating from college, he attended basic training at Fort Benning. 

"One of the greatest of Americans to have achieved what he did in armed services, despite all of the racism," said Richard Rose, NAACP Atlanta President.

Powell's military leadership included his service at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, and Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. 

"To see him achieve what he did for young Black soldiers, young Black men and women who growing up who may have the opportunity to serve later on in life. He was a role model for all of us," said Rose. 

But Rose is worried the news of the 84-year-old dying from the virus after being vaccinated could further vaccine hesitancy. He had underlying conditions including Parkinson's Disease and had been treated for multiple myeloma, which can severely compromise the immune system. Immunocompromised people may also not build the same levels of immunity after vaccination, as healthy people can.

Former U.S. Ambassador and Atlanta mayor, Andrew Young, reflected on his friendship with Powell. 

"He kind of made Fort Benning, a kind of West Point for the average soldier. I was very very impressed," said Young. "And I think that's the way, people black and white, thought of Colin Powell: he was a man of reason, a man of courage."

Atlanta City Council members released the following statement after the passing of General Colin Powell:

“The Atlanta City Council joined the country and the world in commemorating and honoring the life of Gen. Colin Powell during a moment of silence during today’s meeting following the announcement of his death on Monday. He had an extraordinary career in the U.S. Armed Forces and deeply shaped our nation as our country’s top diplomat. He was a remarkable man and a true leader. We are saddened by his loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family.”

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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