Colin Powell opened up to journalist Bob Woodward about his health struggles in what may have been his last interview before his death.
“Don’t say no and don’t feel sorry for me, for god’s sakes. I’m (almost) 85 years old,” Powell said after telling Woodward about battling multiple myeloma for nearly two years. “I haven’t lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I’m in good shape.”
Powell, the first Black US secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday from complications from Covid-19 at the age of 84. Multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, suppresses the body’s immune response. He also had Parkinson’s.
Powell continued: “I’ve taken lots of exams and I get there on my own. I drive up in my Corvette, get out of the Corvette and go into the hospital. I also go to a clinic to get the blood tests taken. I don’t advertise it, I don’t make an announcement about it, but most of my friends know it.”
CNN obtained audio of Woodward’s July 12 phone interview with Powell for Woodward’s latest book on former President Donald Trump, “Peril.”
Powell’s trailblazing career spanned numerous presidential administrations. He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the George H.W. Bush administration and the US-led victory in the first Gulf War. But as secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration, he played a key role pushing faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the 2003 Iraq War, something he’d later call a “blot” on his record.
In the July interview, Woodward discussed Powell’s views on war and his moniker as “a reluctant warrior.”
“Whenever that is asked of me, I say, true. I am a reluctant warrior. I don’t like wars. I don’t want to be a warrior,” Powell said. “But remember the other thing that is well-known about me. And that is we go to a war, and I will do everything I can to beat the crap out of somebody, and win.”
“That’s known as the Powell doctrine by the way,” he added.