Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Has Died at Age 84

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Image Credit: Getty/David M. Russell

Political and feminist icon Madeleine Albright died of cancer on March 23 at the age of 84. Albright’s family shared the news of her death in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, saying she was surrounded by family and friends.

The first woman to lead the State Department, Albright was born in what was then Czechoslovakia as Marie Jana Korberova and came to the United States as a refugee after the Nazi occupation in 1948. After graduating from Wellesley College and earning a master’s degree from Columbia University, she eventually went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State to President Bill Clinton. During the Clinton administration, she was a prominent figure in international diplomacy, shaping foreign policy by advocating for NATO expansion and promoting peace.

The feminist icon was a fierce advocate for women’s rights and, as State Department chief spokesman Ned Price said, “really opened the door to a large part of women’s rights. [the] labor force. After leaving office, she became a professor at Georgetown University and chair of the National Institute for Democracy in International Affairs in Washington, both positions she held until her death.

In 2012, Albright, the best-selling author, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama for his enduring service to the country. “It took me a long time to have a voice, and now that I have a voice, I’m not going to be silent,” she once told The Huffington Post. “I enjoy being who I am, so to speak.”

Read the full statement from the family below.

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