Mayor Bill de Blasio paid tribute to Colin Powell, who died Monday from COVID-19 complications, saying the Harlem-born first black secretary of state exemplified the best of the Big Apple and made New Yorkers “very proud.”
“General Powell served this nation with just tremendous distinction,” he said Monday morning during his daily press briefing, held remotely in City Hall.
De Blasio noted Powell’s “absolute classic New York City story” of being born to Jamaican immigrants, growing up in Harlem and The Bronx and graduating from Morris High School before attending City College of New York.
“Just an absolute great example of the good, the talent, the ability that came out of New York City, but he took it to the next level,” said the mayor.
“He served this country profoundly. He also, of course was a trailblazer, proving to the world, showing to the world that talent and ability comes in all colors, comes in all races,” he added. “He opened the doors for so many others. He’s someone we’re going to miss a lot. He showed the world what New York City’s all about.”
“We’re going to miss him a lot. He made us very, very proud.”
Powell, a retired four-star general and former White House national security adviser, died at 84 Monday morning after contracting coronavirus. He was inoculated against COVID-19, but had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer that can hinder the body’s ability to fight infection.