Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth & More Mourn Death Of Anti-Apartheid Hero Desmond Tutu

Everyone from The Queen to Barack Obama to Hollywood's elite have reacted to the sad news of anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu's death at the age of 90.

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Image Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Celebrities are mourning the loss of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died on December 26 in his native South Africa at the age of 90. The Anglican cleric was an iconic human rights advocate, fighting tirelessly to end apartheid, South Africa’s official policy of racial segregation. In 1984, Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent anti-apartheid efforts. When the practice was finally abolished in the 90s. Tutu became the country’s chair for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, alongside friend Nelson Mandela, who became the first president of the country.

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu speaks at the “So the World May Hear” Awards Gala in Minnesota in 2014. (Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

“He was larger than life, and for so many in South Africa and around the world his life has been a blessing,” the Nelson Mandela foundation said in a statement. “His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies.”

As news of the death spread across social media, everyone from The Queen of England to Apple CEO Tim Cook to Star Trek’s George Takei shared messages paying tribute to Tutu. Her Royal Majesty wrote, “I am joined by the whole Royal Family is being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world. I remember with fondness my meeting with him and his great warmth and humour.” Tim shared, “His legacy will forever be an example to us all. May he rest in peace,” while George posted, “His was a voice of hope, compassion and reconciliation. Let us continue his quest for non-violent transformation. Rest, wise spirit. ”

Barack Obama called Tutu a “mentor, a friend, and a moral compass” in his moving tribute. “A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere,” Barack added on Twitter. “He never lost his impish sense of humor and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly.”

Hollywood heavyweight Ava DuVernay shared a beautiful photo of the activist and a quote from him as well, which read, “God is not a Christian. God accepts as pleasing those who live by the best lights available to them that they can discern. All truth, all sense of beauty, all awareness of goodness has one source, God, who is not confined to one place, time or people.”

Sharing an anecdote from when he interviewed TuTu in 2003, CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted, “Asked him what his message was. His response was simple: “Give peace a chance.” Will never forget that. RIP.” One of Jim’s colleagues at the cable news station, Ana Navarro, wrote, “A very good man, who played a giant role in ending the scourge of apartheid in South-Africa, has died. RIP, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.” 

Indian Parliament member Rahul Gandhi took to his social media to react, tweeting, “Such great heroes of social justice will always be a source of inspiration to all of us across the world,” while Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan shared, “My deepest condolences on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Laureate, close confidant of Nelson Mandela, an icon of anti-apartheid struggle & champion of human rights. His critical role in liberation & national reconciliation are an inspiration for future generations.”

TV host Piers Morgan shared his thoughts on Tutu’s passing by writing, “A magnificently charismatic & heroic figure who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his relentless campaign against Apartheid in South Africa. Love his quote: ‘If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.’”

TV host Piers Morgan shared his thoughts on Tutu’s passing by writing, “A magnificently charismatic & heroic figure who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his relentless campaign against Apartheid in South Africa. Love his quote: ‘If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.’”

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