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Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, passes away at age 84

Madeleine Albright
Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 16:40:09-04

Madeleine Albright, the first woman to be U.S. secretary of state, passed away on Wednesday, her family confirmed on Twitter.

Albright was born in Prague and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee in 1948.

Before being appointed secretary of state by President Bill Clinton in 1997, she was the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.

On Wednesday afternoon, Clinton issued a statement, saying, "Hillary and I are profoundly saddened by the passing of Madeleine Albright. She was one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding UN Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being."

The former president said he spoke with Albright on the phone just two weeks before her passing.

"She never lost her great sense of humor or her determination to go out with her boots on, supporting Ukraine in its fight to preserve freedom and democracy," Clinton wrote.

Albright earned the Medal of Freedom in 2012 and is remembered for being at the forefront of foreign policy after the Cold War.

Former President Barack Obama remembered Albright for being a "champion for democratic values" and a "truly remarkable woman."

"It's because of people like Madeleine that the story of America is, ultimately, one of hope," Obama wrote in a statement published on Twitter.

Albright was a professor at Georgetown University at the time of her death.

Her family said she died from cancer, while surrounded by family and friends.

She was 84 years old.