South Africa’s last apartheid President FW de Klerk dies aged 85

Image credit: Facebook/FW de Klerk Foundation

FW de Klerk, the last President of apartheid South Africa, has died aged 85.

The FW de Klerk Foundation announced his passing in a statement on Thursday (11 November).

FW de Klerk dies

“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” the Foundation said.

“Mr De Klerk was 85 years old. He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren. The family will, in due course, make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements.”

De Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize with former President Nelson Mandela in 1993 for his role in dismantling apartheid and ushering in a democratic South Africa.

He famously announced the freeing of political prisoners, including Mandela who had spent 27 years in prison, as well as the unbanning of anti-apartheid political parties such as the ANC in 1990.

He was President from 1989 until 1994 when he handed over power to Mandela and the ANC. He however remained Deputy President in a Government of National Unity formed after the 1994 elections before resigning in 1996.

De Klerk largely retreated from public life save for appearances in public speaking circuits around the world.

Last year, he sparked controversy when he said apartheid was not a crime against humanity, although his Foundation later apologised for his remarks.

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