Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an activist who was one of the driving forces behind ending apartheid in South Africa, has died at the age of 90.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the news and his passing as “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.”

“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.”

Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s role in the non-violent campaign to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the Black majority in the country earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Thanks to Tutu’s campaigning, alongside supporting fellow anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandala, South Africa ended apartheid in 1990. Four years later, the pair would famously stand hand in hand when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

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“Typically, he turned his own misfortune into a teaching opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the suffering of others,” Dr Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and coordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, said in a statement on behalf of the Tutu family.

In the late 1990s, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was hospitalised a number of times in recent years to treat the infections that resulted from his cancer treatment.

“He wanted the world to know that he had prostate cancer, and that the sooner it is detected the better the chance of managing it.”

“Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.”

In response to the sad news, social media has been flooded with messages paying tribute to Tutu.

South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa described the Archbishop as a “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation called the loss of Tutu “immeasurable.”

The Dalai Lama paid tribute to Tutu in a letter to the Archbishop’s daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu. “With his passing away, we have lost a great man, who lived a truly meaningful life. He was devoted to the service of others, especially those who are least fortunate.”

Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Tutu’s passing and added that he will be remembered for his “spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer called the Archbishop “a tower of a man, and a leader of moral activism” and noted how “his impact on the world crosses borders and echoes through generations.”

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab described Tutu as a “truly great figure” and recalled meeting the Archbishop at The Hague where he was working for the victims of war crimes.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss expressed her sadness to hear of Tutu’s passing. “My thoughts are with the people of South Africa,” she said.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon noted how the Archbishop’s life “made the world a better place.”

Former prime minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to Tutu and said: “I am one of many who was privileged to count him as friend.”

Jess Phillips honoured Tutu by tweeting a quote from him: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby called South Africa’s Archbishop “a prophet and priest, a man of words and action – one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life.”

“The world has lost a giant,” Richard Branson tweeted in response to Tutu’s passing. “He was a brave leader, a mischievous delight, a profound thinker, and a dear friend.”

Piers Morgan described Tutu as a “charismatic & heroic figure” in his tribute before sharing a quote from him.

Reverend Richard Coles tweeted his condolences and recalled when Tutu came for a talk at his college.

Strictly’s Oti and Motsi Mabuse who hail from South Africa also paid tribute to the Archbishop.

Motsi noted the importance of remembering Tutu’s impact: “Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering – remembering and not using your right to hit back,” while Oti described the Archbishop’s passing as a “huge loss.”

TV presenter Carol Vorderman tweeted a Twitter thread in tribute to Tutu: “He was so wise and strong, and growing up we remembered his smile.”

Thousands of people have also been tweeting their condolences and remembering the impact Tutu had on the world.

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