Former United Nations (UN) chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan has died. He was 80.

Annan died after a short illness, his famiy and foundation announced on Saturday.

"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," according to the foundation in a statement.

Annan, of Ghanaian nationality, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, two close associates of Annan said.

He is survived by his wife, Nane, and their three children.

Annan served as the seventh secretary general of the UN between 1997 and 2006, and was the first secretary general to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff. His humanitarian work earned him the Nobel peace prize.

Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938.