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Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, dies at 84

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Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, died Wednesday, her family said in a statement. She was 84.

She died of cancer, her family said, adding that she was “surrounded by family and friends” at the time.

“We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,” the statement said, as well as a “tireless champion of democracy and human rights.”

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Then-President Bill Clinton named Albright U.S. ambassador to the United Nations shortly after he was inaugurated in 1993, and nominated her as secretary of state three years later. She served in the post for four years, actively promoting the expansion of NATO and military intervention in Kosovo.

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama awarded Albright the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

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