Xenophon Kallis, head of the missing persons service at the foreign ministry for many years, has passed away at the age of 73 after a long battle with cancer, CyBc reported on Sunday.

Kallis, from Dali, dedicated his life to the efforts to the issue of missing persons from 1974 but also from the period of 1963-1964 intercommunal troubles, when many Turkish Cypriots were killed. He was respected on both sides of the divide.

He studied sociology in London, was fluent in the English language and has left a huge body of written work including reports and detailed records on the Cyprus issue and its humanitarian aspects.

In addition to being at the foreign ministry, Kallis was an advisor to the Greek Cypriot representative in the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) and was most recently an adviser to the presidential commissioner for humanitarian affairs.

In a statement later on Sunday, President Nikos Christodoulides said he knew Kallis personally and had worked with him at the foreign ministry. He described Kallis as a “tireless fighter in the struggle of the state and society for our missing and fallen, with unparalleled integrity, highest morals and unique humanity.”

He added that Kallis had dedicated his life “like no other to the struggle to ascertain the fate of our missing persons and to find and exhume the remains of the dead of the Cyprus tragedy, so that they can be given to the their relatives for a normal burial, according to our traditions”.

The statement said the government would cover the cost of the funeral.