South Africa’s former President FW de Klerk dies at 85.

FW de Klerk, South Africa’s former president and the country’s last white leader, died at the age of 85.Mr de Klerk, who was also a significant figure in the country’s democratic transition, was diagnosed with cancer this year, according to a spokeswoman.

Between September 1989 to May 1994, Mr. de Klerk served as President of South Africa.In 1990, he stated that anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela would be released, sparking multi-party polls in 1994.

“Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye (Cape Town) earlier this morning following his struggle with mesothelioma cancer,” said a statement from the former president’s FW de Klerk Foundation on Thursday morning.

The diagnosis of lung cancer, which affects the lining of the lungs, was announced by the foundation in June of this year.

In February 1989, FW de Klerk took over as leader of the National Party from PW Botha, and the following year stated that the prohibition on parties like Mr Mandela’s African National Congress would be lifted (ANC).

His acts contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa, and he was named one of two deputy presidents following the multi-party elections in 1994 that saw Nelson Mandela elected president.

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