Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, dies at 84
Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as US secretary of state, died on Wednesday, her family said in a statement. She was 84 years old.
She died of cancer, her family said, adding that she was “surrounded by family and friends” at the time.
“We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” the statement said, as well as a “tireless champion of democracy and human rights.”
Then-President Bill Clinton appointed Albright United States Ambassador to the United Nations shortly after her inauguration in 1993 and named her Secretary of State three years later. It was confirmed in 1997 by a vote of 99-0. At the time, she was the most senior woman in the history of the United States government.
Albright held this position for four years, actively promoting NATO expansion and military intervention in Kosovo.
After leaving public office, she taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and became a prolific author, penning seven New York Times bestsellers.
In 2012, President Barack Obama rewarded Albright the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“I never thought I would have the kind of life I had,” she said She magazine in a 2020 interview. Asked about her best work experience, she said, “Being Secretary of State and sitting behind the sign that says the United States, especially since I wasn’t born here, and I am a very grateful American.”
She is survived by three daughters and six grandchildren, as well as a brother and a sister.