Former South African President FW de Klerk – the last white man to lead the country – dies at 85.
FORMER South African President FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa, has passed away.
Dave Steward, the spokesman for the FW de Klerk Foundation confirmed his death to News24 on Thursday, November 11, stating: “The former president died earlier this morning at his home in Fresnaye after his struggle against cancer. He was 85-years-old.
“He is survived by his wife Elita, two children Susan and Jan, and his grandchildren.”
In a statement from the foundation released back in June, Mr de Klerk was said to have been diagnosed with mesothelioma – “a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs” in March 2021 and was receiving immunotherapy for the illness.
Mr de Klerk was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994 and was a key figure in the release of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela which lead to multi-party polls in 1994.
De Klerk is seen as a controversial figure by many people in South Africa. On one hand, he received many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, and earned wide praise for dismantling apartheid and bringing universal suffrage to South Africa.
On the other hand, anti-apartheid activists have criticised him for offering only a qualified apology for apartheid and for ignoring the human rights abuses by state security forces.
He has also been accused by some far-right white South Africans of betrayal for abandoning apartheid.
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