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JUST IN: South Africa Thrown Into Deep Mourning As Ex-President De Klerk Who Released Mandela From Jail Dies

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Former South African President Frederik Willem De Klerk, has died, his foundation has announced.

He was the last leader under Apartheid and a key actor in the country’s transition to democracy.

The former South African President oversaw the dismantling of the Apartheid regime.

A statement from the former leader’s foundation said the former leader died at his home in Cape Town on Thursday morning.

He was 85 years old.

“Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” the FW de Klerk Foundation said in a statement on Thursday, Al Jazeera reports.

According to BBC, 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.

Mr de Klerk 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.

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