the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on the Retirement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

It is with deep appreciation that I note Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s retirement from public life today on the occasion of his 79th birthday. This event invites us to celebrate his many accomplishments from which we have all benefited. For decades he has been a moral titan—a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker. He played a pivotal role in his country’s struggle against apartheid and extraordinary example of pursuing a path to forgiveness and reconciliation in the new South Africa. He has also been an outspoken voice for freedom and justice in countries across the globe; a staunch defender of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons; and an advocate for treatment and prevention programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. We will miss his insight and his activism, but will continue to learn from his example. We wish the Archbishop and his family happiness in the years ahead.