Posted By Staff Reporter
The United Nations has lowered its flags to half-mast as world leaders mourn the death of former secretary-general Kofi Annan.
Mr Annan, one of the world’s most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the UN who rose through its ranks to become its first black African secretary-general, died on Saturday. He was 80.
Tributes flowed in from around the world after his foundation announced his death in the Swiss capital, Bern, after a short and unspecified illness. The statement remembered the Nobel Peace Prize winner as “radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did”.
In Geneva, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced the death with “immense sadness”, saying he was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Ama, Kojo and Nina.
At UN headquarters in New York, the UN flags flew at half-mast and a bouquet of flowers was placed under Mr Annan’s portrait.
Reflecting the widespread regard that won him a ground-breaking uncontested election to a second term, leaders from Russia, India, Israel, France and elsewhere expressed condolences for a man Bill Gates called “one of the great peacemakers of our time.”
Mr Annan, a Ghanaian national, was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN in 2001.
Mr Annan served two terms as UN secretary-general in New York from 1997-2006, retired in Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village in the nearby countryside.