By Ethan Nichols, Staff Writer
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright died on March 23, according to her family.
Albright, the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, was 84 when she passed away from cancer.
“We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” the family’s statement said, naming Albright as a “tireless champion of democracy and human rights.”
President Joe Biden remembered Albright as “a force for goodness, grace, and decency — and for freedom.” She “defied convention and broke barriers again and again.” He ordered flags to be flown at half-mast in her honor until March 27.
President Bill Clinton first appointed Albright as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1993 and nominated her to serve as Secretary of State in 1996. She was confirmed by the Senate in 1997 by a vote of 99-0. At the time, Albright was the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.
On Wednesday, Clinton remembered Albright as “an extraordinary human being…because she knew firsthand 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, and she made the most of them in advancing peace, security and shared prosperity,” the former president said.
After leaving public office, Albright went on to teach at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and became an author, writing seven New York Times bestsellers.
In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Albright the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.