Pretoria — Professor Jakes Gerwel, an academic and politician, passed away in the early hours of this morning.
Aged 66, he is believed to have died at the Kuilsriver Hospital after undergoing heart surgery.
In a statement, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory sent its heartfelt condolences to the family of Professor Gerwel, who was Chairperson of the Board,
"We will deeply miss 'Prof' as we fondly refer to him," it said.
Former President Nelson Mandela worked with the Prof for many years, throughout his Presidency and during and beyond his retirement.
When Madiba stepped down in 1999 after serving one term as President of South Africa, Professor Gerwel was his Director-General. He left the Office of the President to join Madiba in his post-presidential work.
Professor Gerwel led the Nelson Mandela Foundation Board of Trustees and staff through the recent transition to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
Chief Executive of the Centre of Memory, Achmat Dangor, said: "We will miss his wisdom and calm guidance".
The centre said Professor Gerwel's family had requested that they be given privacy and the space they need at this sad time. They will issue a statement later.