Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Desmond Tutu died Sunday in Cape Town, South Africa, at the age of 90.
Known for his role as the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and his activism for racial justice and LGBT rights, Tutu died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Center. In 1997, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had been hospitalized several times since 2015, according to the Associated Press.
"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," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on social media. "We pray that Archbishop Tutu’s soul will rest in peace but that his spirit will stand sentry over the future of our nation."
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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. pic.twitter.com/ULGzhOOn9E— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) December 26, 2021
Tutu was known as one of the prominent voices against South Africa's apartheid system and would serve as an activist for the LGBT community, saying his passion for both was "at the same level.” When Nelson Mandela became president in 1994, he appointed Tutu to be chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which uncovered the abuses of the apartheid system, the outlet reported.
In 2012, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation gave Tutu a $1 million award for "speaking truth to power." The foundation said Tutu "is and has throughout his life been one of Africa's great voices for justice, freedom, democracy and responsible, responsive government."
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Following Tutu's death, many users on social media expressed their gratitude and thanks for his contributions in life.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend, and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere. pic.twitter.com/qiiwtw8a5B— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 26, 2021
“God is not a Christian. God accepts as pleasing those who live by the best lights available to them that they can discern. All truth, all sense of beauty, all awareness of goodness has one source, God, who is not confined to one place, time or people.” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu pic.twitter.com/up1o42Hetj— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 26, 2021
My condolences on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was a champion of the anti-apartheid movement and a Gandhian.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 26, 2021
Such great heroes of social justice will always be a source of inspiration to all of us across the world.