The first woman to become United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, as passed away following a battle with cancer at age 84, her family announced in a statement.
A statement released by Albright’s family read, “We are heartbroken to announce that Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, the 64th Secretary of State and the first woman to hold that position, passed away earlier today. The cause was cancer. We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.”
NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander shared the statement on Twitter.
“Madeleine Albright, born Marie Jana Korbelova, was a native of Prague who came to the United States as a refugee in 1948 and rose to the heights of American policy-making, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, the nation’s highest civilian honor,” the statement continued. “A tireless champion of democracy and human rights, she was at the time of her death a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, part of Dentons Global Advisors, chair of Albright Capital Management, President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, chair of the National Democratic Institute, chair of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and an author. She founded the Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College, served as a lifetime trustee of The Aspen Institute, and was a member of the chapter of the Washington National Cathedral. She was 84 years old.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price praised Albright as a “trailblazer” during a press conference on Wednesday.
“I can say that the impact that Secretary Albright, Professor Albright, Dr. Albright – she’s known as many titles around here and in Washington and around the world – the impact that she has had on this building is felt every single day in just about every single corridor,” he said. “A number of our most senior officials from Sec. Blinken to Deputy Sec. Sherman to our Chief of Staff Suzy George, were lucky enough to call her a boss, but I think the better word is probably mentor. And a number of us have had the great pleasure to have gotten to know Sec. Albright over the years. There are a number of people in this building who continue to work here and who recall very fondly her tenure.”
“Of course she was a trailblazer as the first female Secretary of State and quite literally opened doors for a large element of our workforce,” he continued.