Vienna, May 13, IRNA

Former UN refugee commissioner dies Former UN official in charge of humanitarian operations Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan has died at the age of 70, Geneva-based Bellerive Foundation sad on Tuesday.

Sadruddin died Monday in Massachusetts general hospital in Boston, said Nasir Sunderji, an official of the Bellerive Environmental Organization founded by Sadruddin himself.

Sadruddin, of Iranian origin, started his long career with the United Nations as an adviser to UNESCO for Afro-Asian projects.

He was the longest-serving UN High Commissioner for Refugees, taking over the post in 1965 at the age of just 33 and remaining in office for 12 years.

"All in UNHCR and the humanitarian community are deeply saddened by the passing away of Sadruddin Aga Khan," said Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"He left an indelible print on UNHCR history, leading the Refugee Agency through some of the most challenging moments."

He was once mentioned as a possible UN secretary general.

"Fate uprooted my family from Iran over 130 years ago. I liked the idea of trying to getting some things back and taking care of them," he said in an interview with London-based Daily Telegraph in 1998.