Former South African president F.W. de Klerk dies

Former South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for their efforts steering the country from apartheid to democracy, has died at the age of 85.

The FW de Klerk Foundation issued a statement, saying he died peacefully at his home in Cape Town on Thursday after a battle against cancer.

De Klerk was born into a white Afrikaner family in Johannesburg in 1936.

He became president in 1989. The following year, he released Mandela, who had been in prison for 27 years.

The two men joined hands to end apartheid, a policy of segregation and discrimination against the non-white majority under white-minority rule in South Africa.

In 1993, de Klerk and Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said at the time that it awarded the prize "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."

In 1994, de Klerk assumed the deputy presidency under President Mandela after the country's first democratic elections, in which citizens of all races were allowed to vote.

De Klerk continued to seek national reconciliation after retiring from politics.