FACT CHECK: No, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Did Not Die Oct. 20

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu passed away Oct. 20.

Verdict: False

Tutu has not passed away. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation called the hoax “false” and “irresponsible.”

Fact Check:

Tutu served as the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, CNN reported. He was a leader in the movement against apartheid in South Africa, receiving the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work, according to the Nobel Prize website.

The Facebook post alleges Tutu died Wednesday at the age of 90, citing a supposed announcement made on Twitter by Bishop of Johannesburg Stephen Moreo. (RELATED: Did Lauren Boebert Tweet, ‘I Would Rather See Every Child In This Country Dead Than Pass Any New Gun Laws’?)

In reality, Tutu has not passed away. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, which represents Tutu and his wife, refuted rumors of his death in a tweet Wednesday.

“The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation outrightly condemns the false, irresponsible, mischievous news that has been circulated today about our Founder Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,” reads the tweet. “Archbishop Tutu is firmly with us.”

South African news outlets such as News24, the Mail & Guardian and Sowetan Live haven’t reported Tutu died Oct. 20. No mention of his supposed demise appeared in any of the Nobel Prize organization’s press releases or social media posts Wednesday, either.

The Facebook post making the claim seems to reference an Oct. 20 tweet from the Twitter account @BishopSMoreo that alleged Tutu had passed away. The account, which was not verified or affiliated with Moreo, no longer exists.

Moreo does not appear to have a verified Twitter account. The Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg denied on Facebook that Moreo had said Tutu passed away, calling the @BishopSMoreo account’s tweet “fake news.” Some websites mistook the tweet as authentic, citing it in reports falsely claiming Tutu had died.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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