Desmond Tutu was hospitalized on Monday evening due to an undisclosed illness. Mpho Tutu confirmed her father is being treated for “a slight inflammation” and is expected to return home before the end of the week. However, she did not provide details about what caused the inflammation.
As reported by the Guardian, the 83-year-old cleric has experienced several health concerns in recent years.
In addition to battling prostate cancer, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was diagnosed with a serious infection — which led to two hospitalizations in July. Although Mpho did not discuss the nature of her father’s current condition, she did confirm it is not related to the prior infection.
A native of Klerksdorp, South Africa, Desmond Tutu experienced strict segregation throughout his youth. As an adult, he vowed to make a difference.
Although he received a teaching certificate from the Pretoria Bantu Normal College, and taught English and history for three years, he eventually left to pursue a degree in theology.
As reported by Biography, Desmond Tutu was was ordained an Anglican deacon in 1960. One year later, he was ordained as a priest.
In 1975, the cleric gained worldwide attention with his appointment as Anglican Dean of Johannesburg. As the first black man to receive the appointment, Desmond was in a unique position to raise awareness about racial inequality.
“I realized that I had been given a platform that was not readily available to many blacks and most of our leaders were either now in chains or in exile.”
Desmond Tutu was appointed Bishop of Lesotho in 1976 and General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978. With each new appointment, the beloved cleric had further opportunity to increase awareness about the South African anti-apartheid movement.
In 1984, he was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize for his unwavering support of human rights. Although he remained humble, Desmond said he was thankful — as the publicity brought world-wide attention to South Africa’s struggle for equality.
Throughout his career, Desmond Tutu received numerous honors, including an appointment as the Archbishop of Capetown. After serving 10 years, he retired from the position. However, he still holds the title archbishop-emeritus.
— SIPSE NOTICIAS (@SIPSENOTICIAS) August 18, 2015
Although he is formally retired, Desmond remains one of the most influential figures in the fight for equality.
As reported by Huffington Post, the cleric remains hospitalized at this time. However, Mpho said her father “is in good spirits.”
“It’s the right place for him to be right now… As you know, and as my father is finding out, he is 83, not 38, so bouncing back from an illness is not quite as easy as it once was… this is caution, not crisis… we are concerned but not panicked.”
The specific nature of Desmond Tutu’s illness is unknown, but his daughter said he expects to be released within a few days.
[Image via John Stillwell – WPA Pool / Getty Images]