(WJW/AP) — The first female U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright passed away of cancer Wednesday.
She was 84.
According to a statement posted on Albright’s Twitter account, she was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her death.
The statement gave background on the life of Albright, who was the 64th U.S. secretary of state. President Bill Clinton chose Albright as America’s top diplomat in 1996, and she served in that capacity for the last four years of the Clinton administration.
At the time, she was the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government. She was not in the line of succession for the presidency, however, because she was a native of Czechoslovakia. She was a native of Prague.
She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
The statement called her a “tireless champion of democracy and human rights.” At the time of her death, she was a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, among much more.
Albright remained outspoken through the years. After leaving office, she criticized President George W. Bush for using “the shock of force” rather than alliances to foster diplomacy and said Bush had driven away moderate Arab leaders and created potential for a dangerous rift with European allies.