The former Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, a peacemaker and a humanitarian, passed away at the age of 86, after a long illness.

President Sauli Niinistö and the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, at the opening of Parliament in September 2013. Photograph: TONY ÖHBERG/FINLAND TODAY

Former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari passed away in Helsinki on Monday morning at 6:40 at the age of 86.

Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari served as the tenth President of the Republic of Finland from 1994 to 2000. Before his presidency, he held several key positions in the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations.

After his presidency, Ahtisaari founded CMI—Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, a peace brokerage organization held in high regard and played a prominent role in international peace talks and mediation efforts.

In recognition of his work to resolve international conflicts, President Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

In his speech on Monday morning, President Sauli Niinistö described the former president, Ahtisaari, as “a Finn with a big heart. He believed in humanity, civilization and virtue. He worked tirelessly to secure peace and life. Even for those who lived far away and in very different circumstances. For him, human dignity was indivisible.”

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“At a time of grief and loss, we also feel a deep sense of gratitude for Martti Ahtisaari’s long and impressive lifetime of service for Finland and the world,” President Niinistö concluded.