Announcing the death, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was "another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa".
An uncompromising foe of apartheid in South Africa, Tutu worked tirelessly and peacefully for its downfall.
The buoyant, blunt-spoken clergyman used his pulpit as the first black bishop of Johannesburg and later Archbishop of Cape Town as well as frequent public demonstrations to galvanise public opinion against racial inequity both at home and globally.
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