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BREAKING: Former UN chief Kofi Annan is dead

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Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has died aged 80 after battling a short illness.
Mr Annan, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland this morning with his wife and three children by his side.

The family confirmed the tragic news on his Twitter account, writing: “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,” read a post on his Twitter account.

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

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

But he dramatically quit the role in 2012 after six months of failing to stop the civil war.

He said: “The world is full of crazy people like me.

“So don’t be surprised if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can find someone who can do a better job than me.

“There may be other plans, other approaches that may work quite effectively.”

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Annan tried repeatedly to make peace in Syria with his six point plan to mediate between the regime and the 17-month-old armed rebellion.

Praising his efforts, U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon said at the time: “Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments.”

Born in Kumasi, Ghana on 8 April 1938, he was the first secretary general to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff.

He leaves his wife, Nane, and three children.

We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.

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