I am saddened to hear of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Throughout his 90 years with us, he was an indispensable ambassador for faith and peace, as recognized by his leadership in the Catholic Church and his award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Throughout my time in public life, on many occasions I have been blessed to spend much time with him, both in South Africa and here in the United States.  His inspiration helped me keep the faith as a member of the California State Assembly, as I worked against Apartheid and successfully authored legislation which divested California Public Employee Funds from corporations which did business in Apartheid South Africa.

As all of us who fought for the demise of Apartheid surely recognize that the end of that terrible system could not have been brought about without the steadfast advocacy and moral leadership of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Winnie Mandela and the tireless efforts of the African National Congress. As Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Archbishop Tutu led an essential component of the road to unity in South Africa and he did so with grace and compassion. I know that he is mourned today throughout the world. The opportunity to work up close and personal with Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu remains a defining part of my life and career. Ambassador Sidney Williams and I extend our deepest condolences to Leah and his entire family.