Retired Army Gen. and former Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikashvili, died on Saturday from complications of a stroke, reports Reuters.
Shalikashvili was 75. The cause of death was not immediately available, stated the report.
Shalikashvili, a Polish immigrant became the first foreign-born Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.
In a statement released on Saturday, President Barack Obama acknowledged Shalikashvili as a genuine soldier-statesman whose extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it.
Calling Shalikashvili's life an only in America story, Obama praised him for his grit and service to the United States. Born in a war-torn Poland, Shalikashvili came to the United States when he was 16, he learned English from John Wayne movies, rose to the highest ranks in the US military and became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the 1990's, said Obama in his statement.
As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he strengthened our alliances in Europe and in Asia, forged closer defense ties with Russia, and championed the Partnership for Peace with the former Soviet states, said the President.
Shalikashvili who achieved considerable success during the Gulf War, succeeded Gen. Colin Powell as chairman of the joint chiefs. He is survived by his wife Joan and their son Brant.