Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died aged 90, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa.
His death was announced this morning by the South African presidency.
The country’s president Cyril Ramaphosa described the archbishop as “an iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner”.
He said Tutu’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans”.
Tutu was one of the country’s best-known figures around the world, and was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa.
He was a vocal supporter of sanctions and favoured non-violent action against the apartheid regime.
Later, he was credited with coming up with the term ‘Rainbow Nation’ to describe the ethnic mix of post-apartheid South Africa.
The archbishop was also a contemporary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, and is considered one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991
Tutu’s death follows the recent passing of South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, FW de Clerk, who died at the age of 85.
Tributes to the archbishop have flooded in from across the world following the announcement, including from Queen Elizabeth II, who remembered “with fondness my meetings with him, his great warmth and humour”.
Queen Elizabeth II said: “I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world.”
Former US President Barack Obama also released a public statement, following the news.
He said: “Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere.”