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Immediate Release

Statement From Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to Traveling Media on the Death of Colin Powell

Secretary Austin offered the following remarks to reporters while in Tblisi, Georgia, prior to a joint press conference with the Georgian Minister of Defense.

“I was informed earlier of the loss of Colin Powell and I want to express my deepest condolences to Alma, his wife, 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 has been my mentor for a number of years. He always made time for me and I could always go to him with tough issues. He always had great counsel.

“We will certainly miss him. I feel as if I have a hole in my heart, just learning of this recently.

“He was the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first African-American Secretary of State and a man who was respected around the globe. Quite frankly, it is not possible to replace a Colin Powell. We will miss him.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and we are deeply, deeply saddened to learn of this.”