Former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan has died, the Kofi Annan Foundation said on Saturday.
Annan, of Ghanaian nationality, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, two close associates of Annan said.
In Geneva, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced his peaceful death with “immense sadness” after a short illness, saying he was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Ama, Kojo and Nina.
In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.
‘Annan was the United Nations’
Annan served two terms as U.N. Secretary-General in New York from 1997-2006 and retired in Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village in the nearby countryside.
“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Annan had chosen to head the U.N. refugee agency, said in a statement.
As head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Annan was criticised for the world body’s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.
“The U.N. can be improved, it is not perfect but if it didn’t exist you would have to create it,” he told the BBC’s Hard Talk during an interview for his 80th birthday last April, recorded at the Geneva Graduate Institute where he had studied
“I am a stubborn optimist, I was born an optimist and will remain an optimist,” Annan added.
Ghana, world mourns Annan
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938, Kofi Atta Annan served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.
He was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. The award was jointly received with the United Nations.
Anan was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Deeply saddened by the sudden passing of the iconic Kofi Annan whom I met a few days ago. A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakeably firm. He had great love for world peace & democracy. A believer in Zimbabwe & its people. Go well son of Africa, Champion of the world!— Nelson Chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) 18 août 2018
Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan. A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into. My thoughts and condolences are with his family. pic.twitter.com/P0SWagShJM— Theresa May (@theresa_may) 18 août 2018
“Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. It is with profound sadness that I learned of his passing.” –— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) 18 août 2018
Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan passed away on Saturday, 18 August. Statement: https://t.co/YkcMqTk0qI pic.twitter.com/DdYbVW6MT5
An African hero has passed on.— dia4president (@dia4president) 18 août 2018
He was truly a rare gem with regards to Peace building in Africa and the world in general.
Africa needs more men like Kofi Annan.
Rest on! pic.twitter.com/eUeqaBpkNu