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FW De Klerk ill-health claims rejected by foundation

File Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

File Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published Jun 8, 2021


Johannesburg - The FW de Klerk Foundation has dismissed claims that the former president’s health is rapidly deteriorating and confirmed that he has not been admitted to hospital.

According to a statement released by the Foundation on Tuesday, De Klerk attended a meeting of the Foundation on Monday.

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“There have been extensive media reports that Mr de Klerk’s health is rapidly deteriorating. This is not so. There has been no discernible deterioration in his health…” the statement read.

De Klerk - who served as president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994, ruling over the last years of apartheid - announced his mesothelioma diagnosis during his 85th birthday celebrations in March this year.

Mesothelioma is a type of rare cancer affecting the lining of the lungs and usually caused by asbestos exposure. It can take 10 – 50 years after exposure for symptoms of mesothelioma to present. Symptoms can include shortness of breath and chest pain. At this time, it has not been publicly announced how De Klerk may have been exposed to asbestos.

The life expectancy for most mesothelioma patients is approximately 12 months after diagnosis.

According to a statement from his foundation, De Klerk began undergoing immunotherapy treatment in March 2021.

Chairman of the Foundation’s board Dave Steward said the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was now considering continuation of the course of immunotherapy that he has been following for the past two months.

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“De Klerk attended a meeting of the FW de Klerk Foundation Board on Monday - and comes into his office three or four times a week. He and his wife Elita hope to travel to Greece for a holiday as soon as Covid regulations permit,” the Foundation’s statement read.

De Klerk also served as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996.


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