“Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” the FW de Klerk Foundation said in a statement on Thursday.
De Klerk was the seventh and last president of South Africa’s white-minority rule. In 1993 the former statesman received a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for their work dismantling the brutal Apartheid regime.
In July this year the FW de Klerk Foundation released a statement refuting allegations that the former president’s health was in decline.
“There have been extensive media reports that Mr De Klerk’s health “is rapidly deteriorating”. This is not so. There has been no discernible deterioration in his health since he was diagnosed in March with mesothelioma – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. He is now considering the continuation of the course of immunotherapy that he has been following for the past two months,” the statement said.
At the time De Klerk was feeling well enough to make plans to travel to Greece with his wife Elita. According to the statement De Klerk was still able to attended meetings of the FW de Klerk Foundation Board and going into the office three or four times a week.
De Klerk was 85 years old. He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren.