Global tributes pour in for Kofi Annan

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GENEVA, Switzerland (KWTX)
Tributes poured in from global leaders for Kofi Annan, the first black African U.N. secretary-general, who died early Saturday.

The 80-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate died in a hospital in Switzerland.

He was being remembered for strengthening the world counsel's focus on peacekeeping and fighting poverty.

"We will remember him as a man of much action in the international arena, who fought anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said "His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations,"

"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. Michelle and I offer our condolences to his family and many loved ones."

Former President George W. Bush released a statement saying: "Laura and I send our sympathies to Nane and the Annan family on the passing of Kofi Annan. Kofi was a gentle man and a tireless leader of the United Nations. His voice of experience will be missed around the world."

Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938.

He served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006.

He was also a member of The Elders, a humanitarian group since 2007.

Annan created the Millennium Development Goals, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the U.N.'s first counter-terrorism strategy.