“He was a true humanitarian and a committed advocate of human rights,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who passed away Sunday, December 26 at 90.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the documentary film “Mission: Joy.” Via Youtube.

South African Anglican bishop, theologian, and anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away Sunday, December 26 at the age of 90. His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared his condolences in a letter to the Archbishop’s daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu, shared on his website.

His Holiness and Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared a dear friendship rooted in joy and purpose, as documented in their 2016 book with Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy. [Read an excerpt of The Book of Joy here.] The two spiritual leaders are also the subject of the new documentary by filmmaker Peggy Callahan, Mission: Joy, which centers on the spiritual friendship between the two leaders.

“We have lost a great man, who lived a truly meaningful life,” his Holiness wrote after being informed that his “respected elder spiritual brother and good friend” had passed away.

Read His Holiness’ full letter below:

Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey the same to your mother and other members of your family. I pray for him.

As you know, over the years, your father and I enjoyed an enduring friendship. I remember the many occasions we spent time together, including the week here at Dharamsala in 2015 when we were able to share our thoughts on how to increase peace and joy in the world. The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good. He was a true humanitarian and a committed advocate of human rights. His work for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was an inspiration for others around the world.

With his passing away, we have lost a great man, who lived a truly meaningful life. He was devoted to the service of others, especially those who are least fortunate. I am convinced the best tribute we can pay him and keep his spirit alive is to do as he did and constantly look to see how we too can be of help to others.

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