Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State of the US, has died, her family announced. She was 84.
Albright died of cancer, her family said in a statement on Wednesday, adding she was “surrounded by family and friends” during the final moment of her life, Xinhua news agency reported.
A native of Prague, then Czechoslovakia, she migrated to the US in 1948 as an 11-year-old refugee, rising to the top of US Foreign Service as she held the post of Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 during the Bill Clinton administration.
During her tenure at the State Department, she championed the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), pushing in particular for the alliance’s military intervention — led by the US in 1999 — into the conflict in Kosovo between the Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
NATO’s 78-day airstrike campaign against then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia extended to the bombardment of the capital city of Belgrade.
Before becoming the Secretary of State, Albright was the US Ambassador to the United Nations between 1993 and 1997. She was a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service at the time of her death.