World mourns South Africa's anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who died at the age of 90.

South Africans, world leaders and people around the globe mourned the death of the man viewed as the country's moral conscience.
South Africans, world leaders and people around the globe mourned the death of the man viewed as the country's moral conscience. (AFP)

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the struggle against white minority rule, has died aged 90. 

Tutu rose to prominence in the 1980s for his strong role in opposing apartheid rule in South Africa, emphasising non-violent protests.

His funeral has been set for January 1.

Following are reactions to his death on Sunday:

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa

"The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.

"Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead."

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden

"On this morning after Christmas, we are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa."

"His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa."

US vice president Kamala Harris

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a fervent, vocal opponent of apartheid and committed champion of human rights. He inspired millions, not just in South Africa, but worldwide to stand with those fighting for freedom and justice."

Nelson Mandela Foundation

"His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberator futures for human societies. He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd."

Vatican telegram

"His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu... Mindful of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his Holiness commends his soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God."

UK's Queen Elizabeth

"I am joined by the whole Royal Family in 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 meetings with him and his great warmth and humour.

"Archbishop Tutu’s loss will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem."

UN chief Antonio Guterres

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a towering global figure for peace & justice, voice of the voiceless & inspiration to people everywhere.

"We will continue to draw strength from his humanity, passion & resolve to fight for a better world for all."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

"Desmond Tutu did a lot of good for the world. His legacy of resistance to apartheid and to inequalities lives on in today’s South Africa and for all humankind."

Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader

"The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good."

Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King

"I'm saddened to learn of the death of global sage, human rights leader, and powerful pilgrim on earth ... We are better because he was here."

World Council of Churches

"His contagious sense of humour and laughter has helped to resolve many critical situations in South Africa's political and church life. He was able to break almost any deadlock. He shared with us the laughter and grace of God many a time."

UK PM Boris Johnson

"He was a critical figure in the fight against apartheid and in the struggle to create a new South Africa - and will be remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humour."

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

"One of his sayings is terse, but forceful and true: 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'"

Basim Naeem of Palestine resistance group Hamas

"Our Palestinian people lost a strong supporter of their march towards freedom and independence. Father Desmond Tutu spent his entire life struggling against racism and defending human rights and especially on the Palestinian land."

Wasel Abu Youssef, Palestine Liberation Organisation

"Father Desmond Tutu was one of the biggest supporters of the Palestinian cause. He had always advocated the rights of the Palestinians to gain their freedom and rejected Israeli occupation and apartheid."

India PM Narendra Modi 

Desmond Tutu was a "guiding light" for countless people globally. "His emphasis on human dignity and equality will be forever remembered. I am deeply saddened by his demise, and extend my heartfelt condolences to all his admirers. May his soul rest in peace"

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema

Desmond Tutu was a "gallant son of the African soil who fought against the injustices of humanity."

Tutu belonged to "a generation of selfless African leaders that gallantly challenged the injustices of apartheid and racial subjugation against the African people in South Africa and other marginalised people around the world."

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

"Through his distinguished work over the years as a cleric, freedom fighter, and peacemaker, Archbishop Tutu inspired a generation of African leaders who embraced his non-violent approaches in the liberation struggle."

The Elders 

"We are all devastated," said Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for peace and human rights that Tutu co-founded.

"He inspired me to be a 'prisoner of hope', in his inimitable phrase," said Robinson, a former president of Ireland.

The Elders said in a statement they had "lost a dear friend, whose infectious laugh and mischievous sense of humour delighted and charmed them all".

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

"My deepest condolences on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Laureate, close confidant of Nelson Mandela, an icon of anti-apartheid struggle and champion of human rights. His critical role in liberation & national reconciliation are an inspiration for future generations."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies