Geneva, Aug 18: Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan has passed away at age 80, a UN agency said on Saturday.
"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," he added.
"Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader, and a visionary: former @UN Secretary-General @KofiAnnan. A life well lived. A life worth celebrating," a United Nations migration body tweeted.
Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world".
A statement posted on his Twitter account said Kofi Annan died after a short illness. "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," the foundation said in a statement.
News agency Reuters says Kofi Annan died at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday.
Kofi Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world's top diplomat - United Nations Secretary-General - serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said Kofi Annan was the "guiding force for good".