Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan dies at age 80

Wikimedia Commons US Mission in Geneva

Wikimedia Commons US Mission in Geneva

"My heartfelt condolences to Nane Annan, their beloved family, and all who mourn the loss of this proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity", the United Nations head said.

When Mr Annan led the United Nations peace-keeping and humanitarian efforts in the 1990s, he was harshly criticised failure to end the genocide in Rwanda. It was his humanitarian work and his continuous fight against global terrorism, to build a peaceful world, that won him the Prestigious Nobel Peace prize in 2001.

Mr Annan was the under secretary when thousands of Tutsis and a modest Hutus were brutally murdered, earning his office severe criticism.

While marking nine years after he brokered he peace deal, Annan noted his role in mediating was amongst the most intensive and enduring of all his interventions.

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 United Nations chief, from 1997 to 2006.

But he also criticized the former USA president when he deemed it necessary, including calling Obama's Libya policy "not very helpful" in 2011.

In a since-deleted tweet, the UN's migration body said: "Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader, and a visionary: former UN Secretary General [Kofi Annan]".

Michaelle Jean, the former governor general, also expressed her respect for Annan, calling him a "tireless peacemaker".

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world's top diplomat, serving from 1997 to 2006.

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana called Annan one of the country's "greatest compatriots" on Twitter and said the nation's flag would fly at half-mast throughout the country.

During the 10th anniversary of the genocide, Annan acknowledged his mistake like a true leader, adding,"I realised after the genocide that there was more than I could, and should, have done to sound the alarm and rally support".

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.

"I join the world in mourning his loss".

"Kofi was humanity's best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace".

"Deeply saddened by the passing away of Kofi Annan".

The President remarked: "I extend, on behalf of the entire Ghanaian nation, our honest, heartfelt condolences to his beloved widow, Nane Maria, and to his devoted children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, on this great loss".

The African National Congress's Zizi Kodwa described Annan as both "an eminent and distinguished son of Africa" as well as a "great friend of the people of South Africa".