Albright died at the age of 85.
Madeleine Albright, who became the first woman to head the Department of State in 1997, died on Wednesday at the age of 84, the family of the deceased said.
“We regret to inform you that Dr. Madeleine Albright, the 64th U.S. Secretary of State and the first woman to hold this post, passed away this morning. The cause of death was cancer,” reads a tweet posted by the Albright family.
Madeleine Albright was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in 1993. In 1997, Albright became the first woman appointed to the post of Secretary of State. She headed the Department of State until 2001.
As the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Albright insisted on taking a tougher line against the Serbs in Bosnia after the Bosnian Serb armed forces besieged Sarajevo.
During the first presidential term of Bill Clinton, many administration foreign policy advisers did not want to interfere in the situation in Yugoslavia, fearing a repeat of the Vietnam War. However, in 1995, Bosnian Serbs seized three Muslim enclaves, Srebrenica, Gorazde and Rzepa, killing more than 8,000 people.
In response, the United States, together with NATO, launched airstrikes that ended the war in Bosnia.
Albright supported the idea of creating a UN war crimes tribunal, which eventually brought to justice the organizers of the war in Yugoslavia, including the leaders of the Bosnian Serbs who were imprisoned.
Albright was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1937 and emigrated to the United States with her parents in 1948, after the pro-Soviet communist regime was established in the country.
Madeleine Albright has become a symbol of feminism and women’s struggle for their rights in society. Albright used to say, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”