Trujillo became defense minister in November 2019, after serving as foreign minister. He was also the mayor of Cali from 1988-1990 and held several ministerial and diplomatic positions during his decades-long political career.
Carlos Holmes Trujillo, 69, was taken to hospital with Covid-19 earlier this month and had developed viral pneumonia.
"Colombia has lost one of its best men," President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday.
A long-serving politician, Trujillo was a key figure in Colombia's struggle to combat organised crime.
As defense minister, Trujillo led the country's efforts to tackle cocaine production, which had been growing rapidly since 2013 but stabilized the last two years. Trujillo campaigned for Colombia to resume aerial fumigation of coca crops, which was suspended in 2015 over environmental and health concerns. He argued that the Colombian government had found cleaner ways to fumigate the crops and that manual eradication put military personnel and contractors in danger.
Meanwhile the UN has issued the following statement;
The UN family today expresses its deepest condolences to the Government and the people of Colombia for the passing of their Minister of Defense Carlos Holmes Trujillo, after a battle against COVID-19, according to authorities.
Mr. Trujillo’s career had been devoted to public service, also as a long-time partner of the United Nations, including as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador of Colombia to the UN in Vienna. We also appreciate and thank him for being an important supporter of the UN Verification Mission and the UN team in the country.
This morning the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of our Mission in the country Carlos Ruiz Massieu and acting Resident Coordinator Jessica Faieta expressed their deepest sympathy and said that Mr. Trujillo’s “great leadership and vocation to serve the country will always be remembered.”