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UN chief sees late U.S. diplomat as "giant and legend in his time"

12-15-2010 09:56 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon has sent a letter of sympathy to the family of the late Richard Holbrooke, the senior U.S. diplomat who passed away on Monday, saying the former U.S. ambassador to the UN "was a giant and a legend in his time," a UN statement said here on Tuesday.

"The secretary-general said that Mr. Holbrooke was a giant and a legend in his time," the statement said.

In his letter, the secretary-general said that he had known Holbrooke for many years and always admired his drive and determination.

"His desire to do good in the world was fierce, and he pursued all he set out to do with a resolution and tenacity that were second to none," Ban said in his letter to Holbrooke's family. "He was big-hearted and outsized in every way, not least in his capacity for friendship and uncommon humanity."

Holbrooke died on Monday at 69, following a 21-hour surgery for a tear in his aorta. He was hospitalized on Friday afternoon after becoming ill while meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her Washington office.

At the time of his death, Holbrooke was the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and had formerly served as the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Holbrooke has been lauded for playing an integral role in the creation of the Dayton Accords, which ended the Bosnian War in 1995.

"Many of us at the United Nations stand in his debt, and today we mourn his loss. As the U.S. permanent representative, he was an indefatigable champion, raising awareness of AIDS and pushing the Organization to realize its great potential -- in which he deeply believed," Ban said in the statement.

"The advice on which so many relied reflected the rich breadth and challenge of his extraordinary career. He was there, a man of history: from architecting the Dayton peace accords, to working so hard to bring peace to the people of Afghanistan," the statement added.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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