Madeleine Albright, 1st female US secretary of state, dead at 84

Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, has died at 84, her family said Wednesday. 

The family said Albright died from cancer and was surrounded by her friends and family when she passed away. 

“We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend,” the family wrote in a statement.

President Bill Clinton chose Albright as America’s top diplomat in 1996, and she served in that capacity for the last four years of the Clinton administration.

At the time, she was the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government. She was not in the line of succession for the presidency, however, because she was a native of Czechoslovakia.

Albright, born Marie Jana Korbelová, immigrated with her family to the U.S. in 1948 and became a citizen in 1957. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a U.S. civilian can receive, by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

Albright remained outspoken through the years. After leaving office, she criticized President George W. Bush for using “the shock of force” rather than alliances to foster diplomacy and said Bush had driven away moderate Arab leaders and created potential for a dangerous rift with European allies.

This is a developing story. 

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