South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu dies at 90
South Africa’s retired archbishop and anti-apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu, died on Sunday aged 90.
Tutu was Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule. The cause of his death has not been announced.
Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and, in recent years, was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections associated with his treatment.
“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.
He “distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights”, Ramaphosa added.
Tutu is often hailed as South Africa’s moral conscience and the great reconciler of a nation divided by decades of racist politics.
Tutu led numerous marches and campaigns to end apartheid from St George’s front steps, and as a result it became known as the “People’s Cathedral” and a powerful symbol of democracy, according to the local government.
Tutu was a longtime friend of Nelson Mandela and lived for a time on the same street in the South African township of Soweto, Vilakazi Street, the only one in the world to host two Nobel Peace Prize winners.