GENEVA (AP) — Kofi Annan's family is hailing the "outpouring of love and support" it has received from around the world following the death of the former U.N. secretary-general over the weekend.

In its first public statement since the 80-year-old died Saturday, the family conveyed Tuesday how the former United Nations chief was as present for them "as he was with every crisis, every mission, and every intervention" addressed during his U.N. tenure.

It said: "We are richer for having shared him with you." Calling him a "stubborn optimist," it noted how Annan would want people to remain hopeful today.

The family relayed personal anecdotes and photos in the statement posted on the Kofi Annan Foundation's web site .

It said his young grandson Atta quipped: "Bye bye Grandpa, enjoy heaven!"