South Africa’s Last Apartheid Leader, De Klerk, Dies At 85

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Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa’s last white President, is dead.

According to reports, he died at his Cape Town residence on Thursday morning.

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The FW de Klerk Foundation confirmed this in a statement.

“Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” the statement said.

According to the the statement, De Klerk, who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer this year.

He was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994.

De Klerk, headed South Africa’s white minority government until 1994, when Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress party swept to power.

He shared the Nobel peace prize with Mandela but his role in the transition to democracy remains highly contested more than 20 years after the end of apartheid.

He is survived by his wife, Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren.