Madeleine Albright, a former US secretary of state and also the first woman to hold the position in history has died, aged 84.
According to a statement from her family, the trailblazer died of cancer.
Albright was a notable figure during former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s administration, serving as the country’s ambassador to the UN from 1993 -1997. After that, she was nominated by the president to become the secretary of state, the first woman to serve in this role.
Madeleine Albright became the 64th United States Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.
The statement from her family read in part,
“We are heartbroken to announce that Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, the 64th U.S. Secretary of State and the first female to hold that position, passed away earlier today.”
“The cause was cancer. She was surrounded by family and friends. We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.”
U.S President Joe Biden ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff until March 27 as a show of respect.
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“Madeleine Albright was a force. She defied convention and broke barriers again and again.”
“America had no more committed champion of democracy and human rights than Secretary Albright, who knew personally and wrote powerfully of the perils of autocracy.”
“When I think of Madeleine, I will always remember her fervent faith that ‘America is the indispensable nation.’”
Back in 2012, Albright received the American medal of freedom from President Barack Obama. The medal is the highest civilian honor of the United States and can only be given by the President.
Madeleine Albright is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama during an East Room event May 29, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC.
Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hilary Clinton who also served as Secretary of State paid tribute to the late Albright.
“Few leaders have been so perfectly suited for the times in which they served,” the Clintons said. “Because she knew first-hand that America’s policy decisions had the power to make a difference in people’s lives around the world, she saw her jobs as both an obligation and an opportunity.”