The first black US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who danced on stage to Olu Maintain’s ‘Yahoozee’ in 2008, has died from complications from COVID-19 at age 84.
His family announced his death in a post on Facebook on Monday.
“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,” the family wrote, noting he was fully vaccinated.
Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime chief of staff, told CNN that Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response, as well as Parkinson’s.
Even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19, those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from the virus.
Powell stunned the crowd at London’s Royal Albert Hall on October 14, 2008 when he danced to and rapped some lyrics off Olu Maintain’s hit song ‘Yahoozee’.
The former general was addressing the crowd gathered for the Africa Rising festival, a showcase for African music and fashion, when the singer and a backup came up on stage to perform the song.
Olu Maintain mourned Powell in an Instagram message saying, “Rest Easy #CollinPowell oh well yahoozee so well now I know..(knew) u so well.”
Powell is survived by his wife, Alma Powell, whom he married in 1962, as well as three children.
For a time, Powell was considered a leading contender to become the first black president of the United States. But his reputation was soiled when, as George Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which he would later call a “blot” on his record.