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A former South African president  Frederik De Klerk has died.

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De Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, died of cancer today at the age of 85.

According to the deceased’s foundation, he died at his home in Fresnaye earlier today after a battle with mesothelioma cancer, which De Klerk announced on his 85th birthday, March 18 this year.

His wife, Elita, children, Jan, and Susan, and grandchildren survive him.

According to the foundation, the family will make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements in due course.

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The late President de Klerk is best known for his famous speech on February 2, 1990, announcing the lifting of a ban on the African National Congress, ANC, and other liberation movements.

In the same speech, he ordered Mandela’s release from prison after 27 years behind bars.

His father was a leading apartheid senator who served briefly as interim president, and he was born in the economic hub of Johannesburg into a family of Afrikaners, a white ethnic group descended primarily from Dutch colonisers.

He studied law before being elected to parliament as a member of the National Party, which was responsible for the establishment of apartheid.

De Klerk held several ministerial positions before becoming president in 1989, a position he held until handing over the reins to Mandela following the first democratic elections in 1994.

De Klerk and South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their roles in the country’s “miracle” transition away from white rule.

 

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