In recent years, Tutu had stayed away from public life due to his advanced age and health problems that he had suffered for years, including prostate cancer.
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a symbol of the fight against apartheid in South Africa, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, died on Sunday (12.26.2021) at the age of 90, announced the president of that country, Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The death of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of mourning for our nation that dismisses a generation of exceptional South Africans who bequeathed us a liberated country,” the president said in a statement.
Ramaphosa expressed “on behalf of all South Africans, his deep sadness after the death” of this essential figure in South African history.
The president highlighted his extraordinary intelligence, his integrity and his strength in the fight against apartheid, qualities that he combined with his most tender and vulnerable side, expressed in his compassion for those who suffered oppression.
Tutu’s career has been marked by a constant defense of human rights, something that led him to distance himself on numerous occasions from the ecclesiastical hierarchy to openly defend positions such as homosexual rights or euthanasia.
The “Arch”, short for archbishop in English, had been weakened for several months and no longer spoke in public, but he never forgot to greet the cameras present at his appearances.
With his indelible smile or with a mischievous look behind the mask, he continued to captivate the gaze whether it was when he went to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or when he attended a religious ceremony to celebrate his 90 years .