Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general, passes away at 80

Wikimedia Commons US Mission in Geneva

Wikimedia Commons US Mission in Geneva

Back in 2003, Annan, who was the first black African person to get the role as secretary-general, took part in an event at the UN Headquarters in NY, which was focused on protecting the rights of lesbians and gays around the world. "He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did", the statement continued.

The Kofi Annan Foundation also announced the development on Saturday morning in a full statement that detailed how he passed on and requested that his loved ones be allowed some privacy in the meantime.

Current UN chief Antonio Guterres has been leading the tributes to his predecessor, describing Mr Annan as "a guiding force for good".

When he departed from the United Nations, he left behind a global organisation far more aggressively engaged in peacekeeping and fighting poverty, setting the framework for the UN's 21st-century response to mass atrocities and its emphasis on human rights and development.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa says he is "deeply saddened" by the sudden death of "the iconic Kofi Annan" whom he met "a few days go" just before the Zimbabwe elections.

Mr Annan was the first United Nations career diplomat to rise to the post of Secretary-General, an achievement he was widely praised as having guarded jealously and responsibly.

Heand later served as the United Nations special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"His passing is an unexpected and devastating loss, and Leah and I send our warmest love and deepest, deepest condolences to Nane and the Annan family".

Mr Anann served as United Nations chief from 1997 to 2006 and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

"Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan".

It is that generosity of spirit, that dedication to supporting the most vulnerable people on our planet, for which I like to think Kofi Annan will be best remembered.

Akufo-Addo who described Annah as one of Ghana's "greatest compatriots", a "consummate global diplomat", said he has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in all parts of the country and in all the country's diplomatic missions across the world.

Even out of office, Mr Annan never completely left the United Nations orbit.

Anan was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an global organization founded by Nelson Mandela.

He was the first secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa.

"I and the entire Ashanti state have made a decision to add your name to the Busumuru title, because of your selflessness and contributions to humanity, and promotion of peace throughout the world", Otumfuo Osei Tutu II declared when he placed a symbolic gold necklace around Annan's neck to the sound of traditional drumming.

"I felt undercut, and I also felt that perhaps I was seeing the problem differently than they were, because honestly I don't see a military solution in the Syrian crisis", Annan told NPR in 2012 - though six years later, Bashar Assad appears to have all but won.

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