South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule, has died today at the age of 90.
The presidency in South Africa has announced the death but has given no details on the cause of death.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tutu distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.
“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,” Ramaphosa said.
Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his non-violent opposition to apartheid.
A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.
Even after the end of apartheid, Tutu never wavered in his fight for a fairer South Africa and he called on the Black political elite to account with as much feistiness as he had the white Afrikaners.
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.
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.