The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the first lady, Jill, lamented this Sunday the death of the South African Archbishop Desmund Tutu, whom they described as “a true servant of God and of the people.” .
“This morning after Christmas, it breaks our hearts to know that a true servant of God and of the people has passed away, Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa,” the presidential couple said in a statement distributed by the White House.
The South African Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize winner passed away today at the age of 90 in Cape Town, and personalities and leaders from around the world have praised his work in life and mourned his death.
The Bidens recalled that Tutu’s “courage” and “moral clarity” “inspired” Washington to change its policy toward the racist segregation system of “apartheid.”
They also recalled their “warmth” and “joy” when they visited South Africa for the soccer World Cup in 2010 and said they were grateful for the occasions they spent together in recent years.
“Just a few months ago, we joined the world in celebrating his 90th birthday and reflecting on the power of his message of justice, equality, truth and reconciliation as we confront racism and extremism in our time,” stated the Bidens.
And finally, they ended by sending their condolences to Tutu’s family and the people of South Africa on the death of one of their “most important founding fathers.”
“His legacy transcends borders and will resonate throughout the centuries,” they concluded.
Awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against the brutal racist oppression of apartheid in South Africa, Tutu is considered one of the key figures in contemporary South African history.
His career was marked by a constant defense of human rights, something that led him to distance himself on numerous occasions from the ecclesiastical hierarchy to openly defend positions such as homosexual rights or euthanasia.
In recent years he stayed away from public life due to his advanced age and health problems that he had dragged on for years, including prostate cancer.