Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80. The foundation in his name issued a statement saying that the Nobel laureate had ‘passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness.’
Annan headed the UN from 1996 to 2006 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts. His home country Ghana has declared a week-long mourning.
After stepping down as the UN secretary general, Annan also as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a solution to the conflict.
Describing him a global statesman, Kofi Annan Foundation said in a statement, “Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy.”
Reacting to his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “We express our profound sorrow at the passing away of Nobel Laureate and former UNSG Mr. Kofi Annan. The world has lost not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security.”
Former US President Barack Obama, the first African American to win the White House, said: “Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world.”
President Vladimir Putin of Russia said the memory of Annan would “forever live in the hearts of Russians.”
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates tweeted, “Kofi Annan was one of the great peacemakers of our time. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him on many occasions. I’m sad to learn of his death.”
UN secretary general Antonio Gutteres tweeted, “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. I join the world in mourning his loss. In these turbulent and trying times, his legacy as a global champion for peace will remain a true inspiration for us all.”
His most recent role was chairing an independent commission investigation Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis, reported BBC. His foundation said that Annan’s wife, Nane, and three children were “by his side during his last days.”