Hillary Clinton Remembers 'Irrepressible' Madeleine Albright's 'Vital Voice' in Op-Ed After Diplomat's Death

"We can honor her memory by heeding her wisdom," Hillary Clinton wrote for a New York Times piece on her longtime friend Madeleine Albright, who died of cancer on Wednesday at age 84

Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright listen to a speaker after Clinton received the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on December 6, 2013.
Photo: Nicholas Kam/AFP via Getty

Hillary Clinton is keeping her friend Madeleine Albright's legacy alive.

The former U.S. secretary of state, 74, paid tribute to her predecessor, who died of cancer Wednesday at age 84, in a New York Times op-ed on Friday, reflecting on Albright's childhood as a refugee from Prague and her years of championing American democracy.

"For Bill [Clinton] and me and her many friends all over the world, Madeleine's passing is a painful personal loss," Clinton wrote. "She was irrepressible: wickedly funny, stylish and always game for adventure and fun."

"Madeleine's death is also a great loss for our country and for the cause of democracy at a time when it is under serious and sustained threat around the world and here at home," she added.

"Now more than ever, we could use Madeleine's vital voice, her clear-eyed view of a dangerous world and her unstinting faith in both the unique power of the American idea and the universal appeal of freedom and democracy," Clinton added. "We can honor her memory by heeding her wisdom."

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Madeleine Albright (left) is sworn in as secretary of state in 1997. Diana Walker/Getty Images

She recalled Albright's extensive work with the NATO alliance, as well as her foresight in regards to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

"She saw the chronically underestimated Russian president Vladimir Putin for what he is: a vicious autocrat intent on reclaiming Russia's lost empire and a committed foe of democracy everywhere," Clinton continued.

"In a prescient column in The Times published Feb. 23, she warned that an invasion of Ukraine would be 'a historic error' that would leave Russia 'diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance,'" she noted. "As happened so often, the man with the guns was wrong and Madeleine was right."

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Madeleine Albright. Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Clinton's op-ed recognized Albright as the first U.S. secretary of state to travel to North Korea, where she negotiated with dictator Kim Jong-il. She also praised Albright's stance against former President Donald Trump's assault on U.S. alliances and democracy, as well as his incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

"Even at the end of her life, she treasured her first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, sailing into New York Harbor in 1948 as an 11-year-old refugee on a ship called the S.S. America," Clinton shared. "She would have been thrilled by President [Joe Biden's] announcement on Thursday that the United States will welcome up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, and she would encourage us to do more to respond to this unfolding humanitarian nightmare."

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"She would warn, as she did in her book, about the 'self-centered moral numbness that allows Fascism to thrive,' and urge us to keep pushing the envelope for freedom, human rights and democracy. We should listen," Clinton concluded.

Albright's family announced Wednesday that she died of cancer earlier that day, "surrounded by family and friends," according to a statement.

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