‘A Moral Compass’: Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dies at the Age of 90

In Summary

After years of health issues, the civil rights leader died on Sunday.  

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the fierce leader who helped end apartheid in South Africa, has died at the age of 90.  

RELATED: F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s Last Apartheid President, Dies at 85 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed Tutu’s death in a statement on Sunday, calling the leader “a patriot without equal.”  

Ramaphosa also tweeted about Tutu’s legacy, saying, “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.”  

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Known to many as “the Arch,” Tutu was one of the lead voices in getting the South African government to end apartheid. After it ended, Nelson Mandela became the president of the nation and Tutu became the chair to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, CNN reported.  

The Nelson Mandela Foundation released the following statement about Tutu’s death:  

“The loss of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu is 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.”  

RELATED: Civil Rights Icon Rev. Herbert Oliver Dies at 96  

Due to his work helping to end segregation in the country, Tutu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama in 2009.  

Obama referred to the leader as a “mentor, a friend, and a moral compass.”  

Tutu also received a $1 million grant from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2012 for his work speaking truth to power. Additionally, he received the Templeton Prize for his work which “helped to liberate people around the world.”  

The leader suffered from health problems since 2013 when he underwent tests for a persistent infection that caused him to be admitted to the hospital for several years.  

Reaction to Tutu’s death quickly began flooding social media, with many remembering his legacy and influence on freedom.  

This is a developing story.  

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