Johannesburg: Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, died on Sunday aged 90, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years he was hospitalized on several occasions to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.
“Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning,” Dr Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and Co-ordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family.
She did not give details on the cause of death.
A tireless activist, Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for combatting white minority rule in his country.
Famously outspoken, even after the fall of the racist apartheid regime, he never shied away from confronting South Africa’s shortcomings or injustices.
Described as the country’s moral compass, it was Tutu who coined and popularised the term “Rainbow Nation” to describe South Africa when Nelson Mandela became the country’s first black president.