Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid who was revered as his nation’s conscience by both Black and white, died on Sunday aged 90, the country’s president confirmed Sunday.
“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 in a statement early Sunday.
“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”
Tutu gained prominence through his work as a human rights campaigner. In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless and nonviolent fight against apartheid in South Africa, and he later played a key role in downfall of the segregationist policy.
Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and was hospitalized several times in recent years to treat 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,” Dr. Ramphela Mamphele said in a statement on behalf of the family.