Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies aged 80

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80 years old.

A statement posted on Mr Annan's Twitter account confirmed he died in the early hours of Saturday (local time) in Switzerland, where he was receiving medical care for a short illness.

His wife Nane and his children were by his side during his final days.

"Whenever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy," the statement said.

Mr Annan was born in Ghana and spent decades working for the United Nations. He was vital in the formation of multiple peacekeeping forces, including spending a stint as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping.

He was appointed Secretary-General, the top UN post, in December 1996 and served until the end of 2006. During that time, Mr Annan and the UN were recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

After leaving the UN he founded the Kofi Annan foundation, and more recently began leading a UN commission investigating the Rohingya crisis.