Former South African President FW de Klerk

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F.W. de Klerk, who as president of South Africa dismantled the apartheid system that he and his ancestors had helped put in place, died at his home near Cape Town on Thursday. He was 85.

The former president’s death was confirmed by the F.W. de Klerk Foundation, which said in a statement that he had been receiving treatment for cancer.

A member of a prominent Afrikaner family, Mr. de Klerk had vehemently defended the separation of the races during his lad become such a pariah in the eyes of the world by the 1980s, its internal strife and tainted reputation so disruptive to the economy, that Mr. de Klerk argued that the country’s future depended on a new course.

Media caption,

FW De Klerk, South Africa’s last president of apartheid, was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy

FW de Klerk, the former president of South Africa and the last white person to lead the country, has died at the age of 85.

Mr de Klerk, who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer this year, a spokesman said.

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

In 1990 he announced he was releasing anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, leading to multi-party polls in 1994.

BBC

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