South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies at 90

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was a hero of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, has died at the age of 90. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had played a key role in ending apartheid in South Africa.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said that Tutu’s death marked ‘another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans.’

He added, “From the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel peace prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”

Tutu was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in joining Nelson Mandela in the movement against the apartheid system in South Africa.

Tutu’s death comes just days after South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, FW de Clerk, passed away at the age of 85.

Reacting to Tutu’s death, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was a guiding light for countless people globally. His emphasis on human dignity and equality will be forever remembered. I am deeply saddened by his demise, and extend my heartfelt condolences to all his admirers. May his soul rest in peace.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote, “My condolences on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was a champion of the anti-apartheid movement and a Gandhian. Such great heroes of social justice will always be a source of inspiration to all of us across the world.”

Industrialist Naveen Jindal tweeted, “Anti apartheid hero, Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu is no more. The world has lost a man of peace. May his soul rest in peace.”

Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and he was hospitalised on several occasions to treat infections associated with his treatment in recent years.

Nelson Mandela had once described Tutu as ‘the voice of the voiceless.’ Former US President Barack Obama had said in 2009 that Tutu was a ‘crusader for freedom, a spiritual leader … and a respected statesman (who) has become a symbol of kindness and hope far beyond the borders of his native land.’