Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Prize-winning South African cleric who became the voice of the fight against the institutional segregation of apartheid, has died at the age of 90.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement 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 African,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal,” he said. “A leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”
An unbending and vocal foe of apartheid — South Africa’s generations-old brutal regime of oppression against the Black majority — Tutu worked tirelessly, though non-violently, for its downfall.
The buoyant, blunt-spoken clergyman used his pulpit as the first Black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town to galvanize worldwide public opinion against racial inequity.
“Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s life was a gift,” former President Bill Clinton also said in a statement.