Archbishop Desmond Tutu is dead

Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first black archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa Desmond Tutu has passed on aged 90.

A statement released by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday confirmed the development.

“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world,” Ramaphosa said.

Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to end apartheid, and was the last surviving South African Nobel laureate. He played a key role in South Africa’s transition from the apartheid era, including serving as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the direction of then-President Nelson Mandela.

Tutu’s civil and human rights work led to prominent honours from around the world. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 2012, Tutu was awarded a $1 million grant by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for “his lifelong commitment to speaking truth to power.” The following year, he received the Templeton Prize for his “life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world.”

The clergyman had been in ill health for years, retiring from public service in 2010. In 2013, he underwent tests for a persistent infection, and he was admitted to hospital several times in following years.

Tutu is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Nomalizo Leah Tutu, with whom he had four children, Trevor, Theresa, Naomi and Mpho.