South Africa’s last white president, Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk, is dead.
The 85-year hold re Klerk died on Thursday morning at his home in Cape Town, the FW de Klerk Foundation said 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.
The former president, who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer that affects the lining of the lungs in June 2021.
He was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994.
In 1990, he announced he was releasing anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela, leading to multi-party polls in 1994
FW de Klerk had taken over from PW Botha as the head of the National Party in February 1989 and the following year announced he was removing the ban on parties that included Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).
His actions helped bring an end to apartheid-era South Africa, and he became one of the two deputy presidents after the multi-party elections in 1994 that saw Mandela become president.