Bidens: Desmond Tutu’s legacy will ‘echo throughout the ages’

AP/Mark Wessels

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden expressed their condolences for the death of South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu, saying his legacy will “echo throughout the ages.” 

“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,” the Bidens said in a statement Sunday. 

The Bidens said they were fortunate enough to spend time with him over the past years, including their visit with him during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

“We felt his warmth and joy when we visited him during the 2010 World Cup that celebrated the diversity and beauty of his beloved nation,” the Bidens said. “And, just a few months ago, we joined the world in celebrating his 90th birthday and reflecting on the power of his message of justice, equality, truth, and reconciliation as we confront racism and extremism in our time today.”

The Bidens also added Tutu used his own personal background “to create a better, freer, and more equal world.”

“Born to a school teacher and a laundress and into poverty and entrenched racial segregation, Desmond Tutu followed his spiritual calling to create a better, freer, and more equal world,” the Bidens said. “His legacy transcends borders and will echo throughout the ages.

“On behalf of the Biden family, we send our deepest condolences to his wife Leah and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” they added. “And on behalf of the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to the people of South Africa who are mourning the loss of one of their most important founding fathers.”

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and one of the main voices of the anti-apartheid movement, died Sunday at the age of 90. 

In a statement, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation called Tutu “the living embodiment of faith in action.” 

“Tutu was a living embodiment of faith in action, speaking boldly against racism, injustice, corruption, and oppression, not just in apartheid South Africa but wherever in the world he saw wrongdoing, especially when it impacted the most vulnerable and voiceless in society,” the foundation said.

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