Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state, has died of cancer aged 85, her family said.
President Bill Clinton first chose Ms. Albright as US Ambassador to the United Nations during his first term in office, and then as America’s top diplomat in 1996 for his second term.
At the time, she was the highest-ranking woman in the history of the US government.
However, she was not in the line of succession for the presidency because she was a native of Czechoslovakia.
She was surrounded by family and friends,” her family announced on Twitter. “We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend.”
— Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) March 23, 2022
Clinton called Albright “one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding UN Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being.”
“Madeleine’s passing is an immense loss to the world in a time when we need the lessons of her life the most,” the former president said in a statement. “Hillary and I will always be deeply grateful for her wonderful friendship we shared and the unfailingly wise counsel she gave us over so many years.”
Former President George W Bush said: “Laura and I are heartbroken by the news of Madeleine Albright’s death.
“She lived out the American dream and helped others realize it… She served with distinction as a foreign-born foreign minister who understood firsthand the importance of free societies for peace in our world.
“I respect her love of country and public service, and Laura and I are grateful to have called Madeline Albright our friend.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US envoy to the United Nations, honored Ms. Albright as a “trailblazer and a luminary” in remarks on the General Assembly floor shortly after news of her death emerged.
“The impact that she has had on this building is felt every single day and just about every single corridor,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“She was a trailblazer as the first female Secretary of State and quite literally opened doors for a large elements of our of our workforce,” he said.
In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Albright the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, saying her life was an inspiration to all Americans.