Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General, died early Saturday at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, following a short illness at the age of 80.
The death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was born in Ghana in 1938, was confirmed by the Kofi Annan Foundation on Twitter.
Annan was U.N. Secretary-General from 1997 and 2006. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for “having revitalized” the body and for giving “priority to human rights.”
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat..
He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
In a statement announcing his death, the Kofi Annan Foundation described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world”.
“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did.”