Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has died at the age of 80, his foundation confirmed Saturday.
Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan started working at the UN in 1962 and eventually rose through the ranks to become the seventh UN Secretary-General in 1997, serving until 2006. He also received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2001, which he jointly shared with the organization.
The Kofi Annan Foundation confirmed his death in a statement posted to Twitter.
"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. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days.
"Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world," read a statement posted to Annan's Twitter account.
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... pic.twitter.com/42nGOxmcPZ— Kofi Annan (@KofiAnnan) August 18, 2018
"During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law."
After departing from the United Nations in 2006, Annan would go on to serve as chairman for the Kofi Annan Foundation. He had also been a member of The Elders, a group founded by Nelson Mandela and made up of international leaders working for "peace and human rights." Other members of The Elders include luminaries like former president Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"The Elders are shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of their dear friend and colleague Kofi Annan, who was the globally admired and respected Chair of The Elders," the group said in a statement.
The current Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, praised Annan's legacy as a "global champion for peace," writing on Twitter that Annan had been "a guiding force for good."
Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. 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. https://t.co/psJ9viPIeu pic.twitter.com/SKfBk5zaY2— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 18, 2018