Former president is still recuperating after stay in hospital for sepsis
As presidents, family, service members, and dignitaries gathered for the funeral of General Colin Powell on Friday, former President Bill Clinton remained too unwell to attend, still recuperating after a hospital stay for an infection.
Mr Clinton, who awarded General Powell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993, had paid tribute to the late chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state after the news of his death broke.
He wrote: “Colin Powell was a courageous soldier, a skilled commander, a dedicated diplomat, and a good and decent man. My condolences to Alma, the entire Powell family, and all the people whose lives he touched through his service and example.”
Former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Clinton attended the funeral of Colin Powell by herself on Friday, her husband is thought to have remained at their home in Chappaqua, New York.
She joined former presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, and their spouses Laura and Michelle, in the first pew of Washington National Cathedral, alongside President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden.
Mr Clinton was admitted to hospital in Los Angeles in mid-October complaining of fatigue. He was diagnosed with sepsis, an infection of the s bloodstream that began as a urological condition.
After several days at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, the former president was discharged on 17 October to return home to New York to continue his recovery.
Former President Clinton released a video message sharing an update on his recovery on 21 October.
Looking visibly frail, he said he will be around “for a lot longer”.
“Hi everyone, I was so touched by the outpouring of support I received during my stay in the hospital. Thanks so much,” said the former president.
“I’d also like to thank the doctors and nurses at UC Irvine Medical Centre for the absolutely wonderful care that they gave me over the last seven days.”
Mr Clinton also said he was going to do his “best to be around”.
“I, for one, am going to do my best to be around, to keep doing the most good I can, for a lot longer,” he said, adding that it was great to be back home.
The former president also had important advice for those listening to his message: “I want to remind everyone out there: Take the time to listen to your bodies and care for yourselves. We all have work to do and each of us has an important role to play in life and in the immediate future.”
Mr Clinton underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2004 and in 2010 had two stents inserted in an artery after experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.
Between these years, in 2005, Mr Clinton had to undergo lung surgery for a partially collapsed lung.
Former President Donald Trump was not in attendance at General Powell’s funeral — the former secretary of state actively campaigned against him, called out his lies, and voted for Joe Biden.
When news of Mr Powell’s death was announced, Mr Trump, rather than acting with dignity or remaining silent, attacked him in a statement released through his political action committee.
Former President Jimmy Carter was also not in Washington, DC for the funeral. Aged 97 he is believed to have decided to remain at home in Georgia.