She was named as President Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations in 1993.
Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state has died at the age of 84.
Albright, who helped steer Western foreign policy in the aftermath of the Cold War, died due to cancer, according to CNN.
Albright's death on Wednesday was announced later that day by her family, who remembered her as a "tireless champion of democracy and human rights" and a "loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend." She died of cancer and had been "surrounded by family and friends," according to the statement.
Albright, a childhood refugee from Prague, what was then known as Czechoslovakia, immigrated to the United States as a girl in 1948, at 11 years old, according to PEOPLE.
"Becoming a U.S. citizen is the most important thing that ever happened to me," she later said, remembering how her father would remark that "in Europe, during [World War II] people would say, 'We are sorry for your troubles and hope that you have everything you need; by the way, when will you be leaving to go back home?' But in America, people said: 'We are sorry for your troubles and hope that you have everything you need; by the way, when will you become a citizen?' "
Once Albright moved to the U.S., she grew up in Denver and went on to study at Wellesley College, where she graduated in 1959. After her post-graduation, she was eventually recruited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter where a former teacher, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was the national security adviser.
There, she not only counseled a number of prominent Democratic politicians on foreign policy but was also named as President Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations in 1993.
Clinton nominated her as the first female secretary of state in December 1996 and she was unanimously confirmed weeks later, in early 1997. She remained in the role until the end of Clinton's second term as president.
As secretary of state, Albright was known for her shrewdness, her direct and personable approach to diplomacy—"Everybody has their own style, and mine is people to people," she once said.
"As secretary, I will do my best to talk about foreign policy, not in abstract terms, but in human terms and bipartisan terms," she said in remarks in Texas, shortly after being confirmed, according to The New York Times. "I consider this vital because, in our democracy, we cannot pursue policies abroad that are not understood and supported here at home."
Albright is survived by her three daughters. She divorced Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, a newspaper scion, in the '80s.
The world lost a brilliant and beloved leader today. Madeleine Albright gave so much of her life to public service—always with intelligence, strength, and conviction. Secretary Albright was a mentor and a friend. I will miss her. pic.twitter.com/o77CjDSqPV— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) March 24, 2022
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Mark Wilson