Tributes are pouring in for Ghana’s celebrated diplomat – former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died in the early hours of Saturday in the Swiss capital, Berne, at the age of 80.

He passed on in a hospital after a short illness, with the wife Nane Marie Lagergren and their Children, Anna, Kojo and Nina by his side.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, took to twitter to express sadness about Annan’s death.

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“I join the world in mourning his loss. In these turbulent and trying times, his legacy as a global champion for peace will remain a true inspiration for us all”, he tweeted.

He added that the late Annan was a guiding force for good.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, also tweeted, “Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan.”

“A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left, a better place that the one he was born into. My thoughts and condolences are with his family.”

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The Kofi Annan Foundation, which he was the Chairman of, paid tribute to his extraordinary commitment to touching the lives of others.

The Foundation, an organization he established in 2007, after serving out his term as UN Chief, described him as a global statesman, a deeply committed internationalist, who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.

In a statement, it said, during his distinguished career and leadership of the UN, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law and continued his work for peace after retiring from the World Body, through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela.

“He was an inspiration to young and old alike,” the statement added.

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The late Annan was a son of Ghana who felt a special responsibility towards Africa and its development and was deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did.  He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system.  He will remain in our hearts forever.”

“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning. Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later,” the statement said.