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JUST IN: South Africa’s Last White President FW de Klerk Is Dead

South Africa’s last white president, FW de Klerk is dead.

Gatekeepers News reports that South Africa’s last white president, FW de Klerk who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy has died at the age of 85.

According to a spokesman, the former president of South Africa had been diagnosed with cancer this year.

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

De Klerk announced his intent to release the anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in 1990, leading to multi-party polls in 1994.

FW de Klerk Foundation while announcing his death in a statement on Thursday morning wrote: “Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye (Cape Town) earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”

The foundation earlier announced the diagnosis – cancer that affects the lining of the lungs – in June this year.

De Klerk took over from PW Botha as the head of the National Party in February 1989. A year after, he announced his plans the removal the ban on parties that included Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).

His moves brought an end to apartheid-era South Africa, and he became one of the country’s two deputy presidents after the multi-party elections in 1994 that witnessed Mandela’s presidency

In 1993, De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela.

Despite this, his role in the nation’s transition to democracy was always highly contested, as he was accused of playing down the seriousness of apartheid.

Last year, De Klerk apologised for “quibbling” over the matter.

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