Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become the United States Secretary of States, died on March 23 at the age of 84, her family announced.
According to a family statement, Albright died of cancer.
“We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend,” Albright’s family said.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton called Albright’s passing “an immense lost to the world in a time when we need the lessons of her life the most.”
Albright was a Czech immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1948 and became an American citizen in 1957.
Under the Clinton administration, Albright became the 64th secretary of state after being confirmed by a vote of 99-0.
Albright served in the post for four years, actively promoting the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and military intervention in Kosovo to stop the ethnic cleansing being carried by the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Some critics called the bombing campaign, “Albright’s War.”
At the time, Albright said, “I take full responsibility… for believing it was essential for us not to stand by and watch what Milosevic was planning to do.”
Kosovan President Vjosa Osmani called Albright “an invaluable friend.”
“Her contribution to our freedom and democracy will never be forgotten,” Osmani said.
In 2012, former U.S. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Obama called Albright “a champion for democratic values” in a statement on March 23.
U.S. President Joe Biden called Albright “a force for goodness, grace, and decency — and for freedom.”
“America had no more committed champion of democracy and human rights than Secretary Albright,” Biden said in a statement.
Albright is survived by her three daughters, six grandchildren, a brother, and a sister.
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