Fact Check: Colin Powell Did NOT Commit Suicide

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Colin Powell Did NOT Commit Suicide Not Supported

Did Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commit suicide? No, that's not true: That claim is not supported by any news coverage of his death, by any statements from his family or officials or by any medical evidence. The Associated Press and other news organization stated that Powell died from complications of Parkinson's disease, multiple myeloma, and COVID-19. The source of the baseless suicide claim -- Real Raw News -- is known for creating false stories about public figures.

The story originated as an article published by Real Raw News on October 18, 2021, titled, "Colin Powell Committed Suicide" (archived here) which opened:

The disreputable, faux Biden administration and its media cohorts have perpetrated yet another fallacy on the American public by claiming that Colin Powell died of "Covid-19 complications" despite being fully vaccinated.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Colin Powell Committed Suicide - Real Raw News

This is what the article looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 10.47.20 AM.png

The Real Raw News article continued: "Powell, who had suffered from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, committed suicide early Monday morning, our source said. 'Powell died at home after consuming a bottle of prescription sleeping pills,' he said... After a thorough examination of the bedroom, one agent found what appeared to be a suicide note on the floor beside the Powell's bed."

The Real Raw News article gave no support other than an anonymous source to substantiate its claim. There has been no confirmation of any such suicide note written by Powell or evidence of sleeping pills. A Google search of "Colin Powell suicide" shows no evidence indicating that or even alluding to suicide was the cause of Powell's death on October 18, 2021.

Multiple reputable news sources state that Powell died from a combination of illness, amongst them was COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. The AP wrote, "Powell was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, his family said. But he faced several ailments, telling Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward over the summer that he had Parkinson's disease. Powell's longtime aide, Peggy Cifrino, said Monday that he was also treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body's ability to fight infection."

The Biden administration did not comment on Powell's cause of death in its October 18, 2021 statement. The statement the White House put out called Powell a "dear friend and patriot of unmatched honor and dignity," to the Bidens. The Real Raw News claim that the "faux Biden administration...have perpetrated yet another fallacy on the American people by claiming that Colin Powell died of 'Covid-19 complications'" is false, as there was no mention of cause of death in the Biden statement.

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and that "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that warns readers not to take its content too seriously. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items is collected here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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