Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who died Monday due to complications of COVID-19, had a weakened immune system after being treated for multiple myeloma, The New York Times reported.
Powell died at the age of 84 despite having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, his family said.
Peggy Cifrino, Powell's longtime aide, said that the former four-star Army general had been treated successfully for multiple myeloma, a cancer of white blood cells in the bone marrow, the Times reported.
The family's statement said Powell was treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center but did not provide further details about the complications or underlying health conditions.
It also was not known whether Powell had received a booster shot, or when he had been vaccinated against the virus.
The Times said that people with multiple myeloma have compromised immune systems and thus are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Also, vaccines likely are less effective in these patients.
A study published in July reported researchers found that just 45% of those with active multiple myeloma "developed an adequate response" after receiving either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, the Times said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than 7,000 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 resulted in death through Oct. 12, CNN reported. Of those breakthrough cases resulting in death, 85% were among people age 65 and older and 57% were among men, according to the CDC.
Severe COVID-19 is rare in fully vaccinated people. The CDC in June said it had received reports of 10,262 breakthrough infections by April 30, among the 101 million Americans who had been vaccinated by that date, the Times reported.
The CDC did add that its numbers likely represented "a substantial undercount" of breakthrough infections.
Powell also underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2003, when he was secretary of state.
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