Desmond Tutu, retired South African Archbishop and anti-apartheid icon, has died at the age of 90.
On Sunday, Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule, died.
“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
Ramaphosa added that he “distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights”. The presidency did not give details of the cause of death.
Tutu was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in the late 1990s, and in recent years, he has been hospitalized on several occasions for infections associated with his treatment.
“Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning,” said Dr. Ramvela Mamphili, Acting Chair of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Coordinator of the Archbishop’s Office. In a statement on behalf of the Toto family.
In moral conscience Tutu is often hailed as the moral conscience of South Africa and the great reformer of a nation divided by decades of racist politics.
In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to apartheid.
A decade later, he witnessed the end of that regime and presided over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that had been set up to expose the atrocities committed during the apartheid era.
Tutu led many rallies and campaigns to end segregation from St. George’s front steps, as a result of which it became known as the “People’s Cathedral” and a powerful symbol of democracy, according to the local government.
Tutu was an old friend of Nelson Mandela and lived for a time on the same street in the South African town of Soweto, Vilakazi Street, the only one in the world to host two Nobel Peace Prize winners.
South Africans & world community will take a long time to recover for this huge loss.