Forest Whitaker and David Beckham Lead Tributes to Kofi Annan
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Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan passed away in hospital in the Swiss city of Bern on August 18 after a brief illness.

AceShowbiz - Forest Whitaker, David Beckham and world leaders have paid tribute to former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan following his death on Saturday, August 18.

Annan, who served in the position from 1997 to 2006, died in hospital in the Swiss city of Bern on Saturday aged 80 after a brief illness, with his wife Nane and three children Ama, Kojo and Nina, by his side. The diplomat had been living near Geneva for several years.

"Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy," representatives for the Kofi Annan Foundation said in a statement.

Annan was the first black African to lead the UN, and his groundbreaking work revitalising the organisation and putting human rights at the core of its mission was recognised with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker shared a picture of Annan on Twitter, and wrote: "We lost a great man, Kofi Annan was an advocate of the world's most vulnerable populations. His legacy will never be forgotten."

David Beckham, who was "honoured" to have been asked by Annan to become a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005, also shared his sadness at the 80-year-old's sudden passing.

"We have lost a humanitarian legend and leader... He was a champion for peace, committed to improving the lives of others and his legacy will live on forever... My thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.." the former soccer player wrote on Instagram.

We have lost a humanitarian legend and leader. In 2005, Kofi Annan as the UN Secretary General asked me to become a @UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and I'll never forget that moment as it was a huge honour to help children around the world .. He was a champion for peace, committed to improving the lives of others and his legacy will live on forever... My thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time..

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

Annie Lennox honoured the lauded diplomat for his extensive work to bring peace to the world.

"Exceptional leaders like Kofi Annan are so few and far between..Such a special man with compassionate human values - A sophisticated communicator and elegant diplomat. He will be appreciated as exemplary for many years to come.." she shared.

World leaders, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, paid tribute to Annan, and praised the diplomat's "persistence and optimism".

"Kofi Annan was a diplomat and humanitarian who embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others," he wrote. "Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders."

British Prime Minister Theresa May shared on Twitter: "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 than the one he was born into. My thoughts and condolences are with his family."

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