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Desmond Tutu's body to lie in state in South Africa starting Thursday

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Desmond Tutu's body to lie in state in South Africa starting Thursday
Archbishop Desmond Tutu gives the keynote speech at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 9, 2013. Tutu's body will lie in state at St. George Cathedral in Cape Town starting Thursday. File Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The body of iconic Archbishop Desmond Tutu will lie in state at Cape Town's St. George's Cathedral starting Thursday instead of Friday to give mourners more time to pay tribute, officials said.

Tutu, who became one of the faces in the fight against South Africa's minority rule and apartheid, died Sunday in Cape Town. The Archbishop Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation made the announcement Wednesday.

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His funeral will be held at the cathedral on Saturday.

"The Archbishop was very clear on his wishes for hisfuneral," the two organizations said, according to South Africa's News 24. "He wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending. He asked that the coffin be the cheapest available and that a bouquet of carnations from his family be the only flowers in the cathedral."

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Tutu's remains will be cremated and his ashes interred at the cathedral. He served as the first Black archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. As the leader of the Anglican Church in South Africa, he often celebrated Mass at the same cathedral.

Tutu once led the South African Council of Churches, emphasizing non-violent means of protest throughout anti-apartheid movements in the 1980s and encouraging other countries to introduce economic sanctions against the country unless apartheid was lifted.

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Tutu became chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission when apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela became the country's first Black president. The intensive public inquiry took testimony from victims of human rights abuses in the then minority-rule government to seek restorative justice.

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