Foundation reacts to reports about FW De Klerk’s ‘rapidly declining health’

Reports about FW De Klerk ‘approaching death’s door’ appear to have been greatly exaggerated. A statement published on behalf of his foundation has outright rejected claims that the apartheid-era president’s health has ‘rapidly deteriorated’.

FW de Klerk latest: Reports of ill health dismissed

Reports surfaced on Tuesday, suggesting that the 85-year-old’s ‘advanced stage of cancer’ had put him in a perilous position. Since March, De Klerk has been battling lung cancer. Several Tweets on the matter went viral earlier.

Former president ‘still active, continuing cancer treatment’

The foundation set up in his name has responded in a succinct manner. They aren’t best pleased with the reports, and in the statement, they paint a wholly different picture to what has been mentioned.

According to the De Klerks, the former head of state has been working from the office ‘three to four times a week’. He’s also planning to take a trip to Greece in the coming weeks – and, all things considered, the octogenarian is fighting fit.

“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 since he was diagnosed in March with mesothelioma – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.”

“He is now considering the continuation of the course of immunotherapy that he has been following for the past two months. Mr. De Klerk attended a meeting of the FW de Klerk Foundation Board yesterday – 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.”

FW De Klerk Foundation

Tragedy stalks De Klerk family

In a short statement issued on Thursday, 18 March 2021, which was the former president’s 85th birthday, the foundation said De Klerk has mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos and most commonly occurring in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. While there is treatment available, there is no cure.

It can take 20 to 60 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure. The news of De Klerk’s cancer came just months after the former president’s son, Willem, lost his battle, also to the disease. He was 53-years-old.

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