MINNEAPOLIS - A quick search online for Abdirizak Haji Hussein tells the story of a former Prime Minister of Somalia.
He served a Prime Minister from 1964-1967, but to his family, the former Somali leader was so much more
"It has been a very emotional roller coaster for all of us and it continues to be," Marian Hussein said Saturday afternoon.
The 89-year-old, who was born in December, died of pneumonia Friday night. His friends and family were by his side. His niece, Firdosa Hussein, 30, was among the group who watched her uncle take his last breath.
"We are all emotional because he was not just an uncle," she said. "We don't see him just as a politician. We see him as an individual who made great changes in our country."
One of his nephews, Ahmed Gardaad said his uncle stood tall for the Somali people.
"He was a great man that fought in getting the Independence for Somalia from the British and Italians," he said. "He will be remembered his humbleness even though he was in the highest positions of Somali."
Another niece, Marian Hussein, echoed those sentiments.
"He always had that good heart and wanted to help people in general. He has been a great role model to many people of Somalia and that is why it is a great loss for all of us," she said.
The Hussein family tells KARE 11 they are working with the Somali Federal Government to have a national funeral in Somalia, where Hussein will be buried.
Meanwhile, from 1975 to 1980, Hussein also served as the country's ambassador to the United Nations.
Hussein lived in Minnesota for the last 20 years.