Senegalese ex-UN food agency chief Jacques Diouf dies

Diouf died in France following a long illness (AFP Photo/ANDREAS SOLARO)

Dakar (AFP) - Senegalese Jacques Diouf who headed the UN food agency for 18 years has died at the age of 81, President Macky Sall said on Saturday, describing him "as one of Senegal's most valiant sons".

Diouf, a former Senegalese ambassador to the United Nations, died in France following a long illness, his family said quoted by Senegal media.

He held the top post at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for 18 years.

"Senegal has lost one of its most valiant sons with the death of our compatriot Jacques Diouf," Sall said on Twitter.

Diouf, who stepped down in 2011 following three six-year terms, received many honours from governments around the world, but was also criticised for leaving an agency that critics considered to be too centralised and chronically inefficient.