Former President Jerry John Rawlings has consoled the Annan family, following the demise of the former United Nations General-Secretary,

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A statement from the family by the Kofi Annan Foundation said his wife and children were by him during his last days.

World leaders have paid tributes to the man often described as the "moral voice of the world."

In a statement Saturday, ex-president Rawlings, who backed Annan's appointment for the UN top job in 1997, said "global diplomacy has lost a gem."

Sending his condolences to the bereaved family, Mr Rawlings said "Kofi Annan committed most of his professional life to world peace.

"He was one of the best, a born diplomat. He made Ghana and Africa proud and left a great legacy at the United Nations," the statement further noted.

A week long national mourning has been declared by President Nana Akufo-Addo in his honour and the Ghana flag will also fly at half-mast during the period.

READ MORE: 10 things you didn't know about Kofi Annan

The Annan family has asked for privacy, saying funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.