Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, is dead

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, is dead.

The Nobel peace laureate, 80, died on Saturday after a short illness, his family said in a statement.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” Annan’s family said.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days.

“Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the UN, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

“After stepping down from the UN, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Koffi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela, he was an inspiration to young and old alike.

“Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“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.

“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning.”

Born in Kumasi, Annan was the seventh secretary-general of the UN.

He was succeeded by Ban Ki-moon in January 2007 after leading the UN for 10 years.