First female U.S. Secretary of State dies of cancer
Madeleine Albright died of cancer; a statement read on Twitter.
Madeline Albright, the first woman to serve as America's top diplomat, died of cancer at the age of 84, her family announced on Wednesday.
"We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend," the family said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Albright was born in former Czechoslovakia, and came to the US as an 11-year-old refugee in 1948. She went on to rise to the highest echelons of American policymaking, serving as the first female secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton.
She had previously served as Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US's UN envoy, hailed Albright as a personal inspiration, and for generations of public servants, saying ahead of a critical vote on a General Assembly draft resolution on Ukraine that she hopes to "do justice for her memory today."
"She left an indelible mark on the world, and on the United Nations. Our country and our United Nations are stronger for her service," Thomas-Greenfield said in the UN General Assembly Hall. "Today I grieve her as my friend, and extend my condolences to her family.”
Albright was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the US's highest civilian honor, by former President Barack Obama in 2012. She said at the time that she was made "almost speechless" when she found out that she would be receiving the honor.
"I was not born in the United States, and so for a naturalized citizen to have the opportunity to represent this amazing country abroad, and to be a part of history is unbelievably moving," she said.
The late diplomat is also known for her remarks regarding the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from the then US-led sanctions. She defended the deaths of the children when asked about the measures during a 1996 interview with CBS's 60 Minutes.
"We have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died (because of sanctions following Desert Storm.) I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima.”
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