Former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80. He died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, following a short illness. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Announcing the news of the leader’s demise, the Kofi Annan Foundation wrote on its Twitter page, “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 was the first black African to assume the office of world’s top diplomat, serving two terms as secretary-general from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2006. He later also served as the UN special envoy for conflict-ridden Syria. In 2001, Annan and the UN were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Ghanaian national, who lived in Switzerland, was a career diplomat who projected quiet charisma and is widely credited for raising the world body’s profile in global politics during his two terms as UN chief, from 1997 to 2006.