World leaders past and present are honoring the memory of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died Saturday at age 80.
Annan was the U.N.’s first black Secretary-General, and its seventh overall. During his 10 years in that post, Annan collected the Nobel Peace Prize and built a reputation as one of the world’s most beloved diplomats, despite presiding over the U.N. during a volatile decade marked by wars and terrorism.
His death, resulting from a short but unspecified illness, sent shockwaves through the global political community on Saturday, prompting world leaders including former President Barack Obama, current U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and more to issue tributes. Flags outside the U.N. headquarters will also fly at half-mast for three days, the organization announced.
“Kofi Annan inspired me and many others with his ideas, his upright beliefs, and, not in the least, his charisma,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement.