Former South African leader FW de Klerk who led the nation out of apartheid dies aged 85


Former South African leader FW de Klerk dies aged 85: Country’s last white president who led nation out of apartheid and freed Nelson Mandela loses lung cancer battle

  • Frederik Willem de Klerk was the President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994
  • He is the nation’s last white leader and helped free the country from apartheid
  • He was also instrumental in freeing Nelson Mandela from prison 
  • More to follow 

The FW de Klerk Foundation’s spokesperson 


Frederik Willem de Klerk, the former President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 who oversaw the country’s transition from apartheid, has died aged 85.

De Klerk was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs – in March of this year, and was undergoing an immunotherapy treatment to battle the illness.

The FW de Klerk Foundation’s spokesperson confirmed the former president’s death in a statement this morning.

‘It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.’

The president is survived by his wife Elita, two children Susan and Jan, and several grandchildren. 

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