The celebrated Ghanaian humanitarian and the first black African to serve as head of the UN, passed away on Saturday at the age of 80.
Kofi Annan, the seventh UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away on Saturday morning following a brief illness. "His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during the last days," read a family statement. He was 80.
Annan was the first black African to serve as head of the United Nations, holding the prestigious position from 1997 to 2006. He was lauded for his global humanitarian work, eventually earning Annan and the UN a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
Annan was head of the UN during the onslaught of the Iraq War, proving to be one of the most challenging global events to occur under his time as Secretary General and one of the most divisive of the early 21st century. "I think the worst moment of course was the Iraq war, which as an organization we couldn't stop—and I really did everything I can to try to see if we can stop it," he said in 2006.
Annan was also the founder of the Kofi Annan foundation and chairman of The Elders, an international humanitarian organization of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1938, Annan dedicated his life and career to diplomacy and human rights. He began his career at the UN in 1962 working with the World Health Organization in Geneva before rising to its top ranks 35 years later and becoming a figure known and celebrated for his efforts towards achieving world peace.
Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo has ordered the country's flag be flown "half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana's diplomatic missions across the world" for a week in Annan's honor.
I have directed that, in his honour, Ghana’s national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of G… https://t.co/94Z6KiY8d8— Nana Akufo-Addo (@Nana Akufo-Addo)1534589980.0
Tributes from fellow world leaders and supporters have poured out this morning in honor of Annan and his enduring legacy.
Kofi Annan, seventh secretary general of the United Nations and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize honoree, has passed away. Ou… https://t.co/TkST36sM6B— NAACP (@NAACP)1534599285.0
Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. I join the world in mourning his loss. In these turbulent and trying times… https://t.co/s5SrZVsE7l— António Guterres (@António Guterres)1534588965.0
We are shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of our dear friend, colleague and Chair, Kofi Annan. Statement:… https://t.co/CTAwyil9hC— The Elders (@The Elders)1534588686.0
President Buhari said Annan’s origin and home will always be traced to Ghana, but his exceptional leadership roles,… https://t.co/5L05F0XhH8— Presidency Nigeria (@Presidency Nigeria)1534599501.0
Before @BarackObama the world got a feel of black excellence at the helm of the world's largest institution. RIP Kofi Annan.— Jito Kayumba (@Jito Kayumba)1534601128.0
Rest in Peace Kofi Annan 🇬🇭 thank you for everything 👑🙏🏾 https://t.co/L1ikmw80wM— Michael Dapaah (@Michael Dapaah)1534587199.0
Rest In Peace Kofi Annan. When I was younger he was the first example of Ghanaian excellence I became familiar with… https://t.co/olt7rBgrqf— Joshua Kissi (@Joshua Kissi)1534594347.0
We mourn the loss of Kofi Annan, a relentless champion for peace and a passionate ambassador for Sesame Street and… https://t.co/VnzuPlbtNp— Sesame Street (@Sesame Street)1534599000.0
Former US president Barack Obama has released a statement on the passing of Annan.
Fmr. President Obama on death of fmr. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better… https://t.co/DvQ5ulaUKD— NBC News (@NBC News)1534602775.0