Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, has died. He was 80.
Annan's family and the Kofi Annan Foundation, a not-for-profit organization caters to create a "fairer, more peaceful world," made the announcement this morning through 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...," it read.
The statement later continued: "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." They also promised that "arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later."
Annan was appointed to the U.N. in 1997 before he retired in 2006. Later, for six months in 2012, he worked as the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria. In 2001, he also earned a Nobel Prize along with the United Nations for "their work for a better organized and more peaceful world." In his speech, he spoke of the importance of not being in opposition to people different than us.
"Each of us has the right to take pride in our particular faith or heritage. But the notion that what is ours is necessarily in conflict with what is theirs is both false and dangerous. It has resulted in endless enmity and conflict, leading men to commit the greatest of crimes in the name of a higher power," he said. "It need not be so. People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what – and who – we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings." RIP Kofi Annan.