The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully after a brief illness, according to a statement published on his official Twitter account on Saturday.
The current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, paid glowing tributes to the former Secretary-General, who headed the intergovernmental organisation from 1997 to 2006.
The renowned Ghanaian diplomat was 80 years old.
His foundation announced his death and the late UN scribe reportedly died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday.
Guterres hailed Annan as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”
“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor.
“I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership.
“He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom – and I know I was not alone,” Guterres said in a statement.
Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, after Egyptian diplomat, Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali exit in December 1996.
The UN chief said: “He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world.
“In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”
Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938.
He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, rising through the ranks to hold senior-level posts in areas such as budget and finance, and peacekeeping.
He served as UN Secretary-General for two consecutive five-year terms, beginning in January 1997.