Colin Powell, first Black secretary of state, dies of COVID-19
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has died from COVID-19 complications, his family announced through a social media post.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was stunned Monday by the news that Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
“That just brings it back home,” Williams said after Monday’s practice.
The loss of Powell, who died at age 84, hit home with Williams as he talked about losing a family member to the virus.
“This thing is real,” Williams said about COVID. “I’ve had family members affected by it. Early on, I lost a niece, you know what I’m saying, and I’m on my kids about their masks in school. It’s a health issue, it’s not politics, it’s a health issue. We’ve got stay on top of it.”
The virus that has impacted millions of people drew heightened attention in Arizona when the Cardinals had five people test positive for the virus late last week: General Manager Steve Keim; head coach Kliff Kingsbury; All-Pro outside linebacker Chandler Jones; defensive tackle Zach Allen; and quarterback coach Cam Turner.
“Then outbreaks on teams,” Williams said. “You think about most of our guys and what we do, you just think, like, ‘Man, these guys are healthy, big, strong.’ That may be the case, but we have family members that if they’ve got an underlying condition, man, I don’t want to put my family in harm’s way. You know what I’m saying?”
Last season, Williams talked about wearing masks around his kids at home and he even does it at practice.
“I’m just trying to do everything I can to educate my family and keep my wife and my kids safe,” he continued. “And we do unreal job here, but this thing is way more serious than I thought when we first heard about the first outbreak. I had no idea it would turn into this,” he said.
“So that just make you want to be more diligent, and also it makes me more cognizant that people have lost their loved ones and many people are struggling. It’s sad to see people struggling and dying from this particular virus.”
Suns All-Star Devin Booker tested positive for the virus and missed the first three days of training camp under NBA health and safety protocols.
All the Suns players have been fully vaccinated.
The defending Western Conference champions open the 2021-22 season Wednesday against Denver Nuggets at Footprint Center.
Powell, according to a statement from his family, was fully vaccinated but had conditions in addition to his age that made him more high risk. He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response.
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