WASHINGTON (CBS News) – The funeral service for former Secretary of State Colin Powell is being held Friday at Washington’s National Cathedral. Powell, who was battling a rare blood cancer, died last month at 84 from complications related to COVID-19.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden are expected to attend the service. Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama will also attend. Cathedral officials said in a statement that numerous military and congressional leaders are expected to be in attendance.
Following news of Powell’s death October 18, Mr. Biden called him “a dear friend and a patriot,” a great military leader and “a man of overwhelming decency.”
Powell served in the Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of four-star general. He was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, and national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan. Powell was the first Black person to serve in each of those positions.
In October, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called Powell “one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed” as well as a “tremendous personal friend and mentor.”