Desmond Tutu Tributes Pour In As Archbishop Who Helped End Apartheid Dies Aged 90

Tributes are pouring in for South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has died at the age of 90.

One of the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement, his death was confirmed by the president's office on December 26.

South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is leading the tributes to Tutu, who he described as an iconic spiritual leader, global human rights campaigner and anti-apartheid activist.

"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 Africa," Ramaphosa said across a series of moving tweets.

Ramaphosa continued: "Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.

"We pray that Archbishop Tutu's soul will rest in peace but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation."

Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of non-violent opposition to South Africa's white minority rule.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and in recent years, was hospitalized for treatment.

Desmond Tutu
Former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu takes up his position as Visiting Professor in Post Conflict Societies at Kings College London, January 14, 2004 at the university's campus in central London, England. Tutu's role at King's College London coincides with the 175th Anniversary of the College. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Dr. Ramphela Mamphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and coordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, confirmed the news of his passing this morning.

"Ultimately, at the age of 90, he died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning," Dr. Mamphele confirmed in a statement via The Guardian.

A cause of death was not confirmed.

"An Icon has rested," tweeted Kenyan politician Charity Ngilu.

"What an impactful life well lived! Archbishop Desmond Tutu positively changed S. Africa and the world. We are better off with his service to humanity. The history of democracy can't be told without mentioning his contribution. Rest with the angels man of God."

While Bobi Wine, a Ugandan politician and actor, tweeted: "The news of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is very sad. A giant has fallen. We thank God for his life- a purposeful life, truly lived in the service of humanity. May his soul rest in peace. Condolences to all people world-over who were touched by his life and ministry."

Sarah Mullally, the 133rd Bishop of London said that Tutu was a "man of faith, wisdom, courage and laughter."

"He has been an inspiration. May he rest in peace," she tweeted.

"Well done good and faithful servant of a loving and liberating God. We are in your debt for your service to Christ and to the world," said American Protestant minister and activist Robert W. Lee IV.

Meanwhile, illustrator Wendy MacNaughton described Tutu as a "beacon" of light.

"In 2001, I worked with Rwandans on implementing the Gacaca Trials, Rwanda's genocide Trials that were based on the truth & reconciliation commission of South Africa. Bishop Tutu's name was spoken multiple times daily.

"From each individual's heart to a nation's—no, world's—future, he was a beacon. He was the light. May his memory continue to guide us all."

Jamie Isbister, Australia's Ambassador for The Environment, shared a photo of him and his sons celebrating Tutu's 80th birthday.

"A very sad day the loss of a giant ⁦@TheDesmondTutu⁩ for justice and #humanrights my two boys had the privilege of celebrating his 80th birthday with him. 'Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,'" he tweeted.

A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation said the loss of Tutu was "immeasurable".

"He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing.

"His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies.

"He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time."

Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, attends an exhibition and book launch of notable photographs of his life, which have been turned into paintings, on April 27, 2019, in the centre of Cape Town. - This event was also organised to commemorate 25 years of democracy in South Africa, as the country's first democratic elections took place on April 27, 1994. RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images