Frederik Willem de Klerk (18 March 1936 – 11 November 2021) was a South African politician who served as state president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as deputy president from 1994 to 1996 in the democratic government. As South Africa's last head of state from the era of white-minority rule, he and his government dismantled the apartheid system and introduced universal suffrage. Ideologically a conservative and an economic liberal, he led the National Party (NP) from 1989 to 1997.
Born in Johannesburg to an influential Afrikaner family, de Klerk studied at Potchefstroom University before pursuing a career in law.
De Klerk was a controversial figure among many sections of South African society, all for different reasons. He received many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize for dismantling apartheid and bringing universal suffrage to South Africa. Conversely, he received criticism from anti-apartheid activists for offering only a qualified apology for apartheid, and for ignoring the human rights abuses by state security forces. He was also condemned by South Africa's Afrikaner nationalists, who contended that by abandoning apartheid, he betrayed the interests of the country's Afrikaner minority.
He died from complications of a disease in his sleep at his home in Cape Town on 11 November 2021, at the age of 85.