Mother: Corrie (Coetzer) de Klerk
Marriages: Elita (Georgiades) de Klerk (November 1998-current); Marike (Willemse) de Klerk (April 1969-October 1998, divorced)
Children: Adopted with Marike Willemse: Jan (son), Willem, and Susan
Education: Potchefstroom University, BA and LLB, 1958
De Klerk grew up in a family of prominent Afrikaner politicians.
Was a member of the National Party (NP), a party made up of Afrikaners and English-speaking whites (The NP did have some non-white members in the 1980s). The National Party supported white rule and apartheid until the 1990s.
1961-1972 - Practices law in Vereeniging.
1972 - Is elected to Parliament as a member of the National Party.
1978-1985 - Holds various ministerial posts, including minister of posts and telecommunications; sports and recreation; mines, energy and environmental planning; and internal affairs.
1982-1989 - National Party Leader in the Transvaal province.
1984-1989 - Serves as minister of national education and planning.
December 1, 1986 - Becomes leader of the South African House of Assembly.
February 2, 1989 - Is elected national leader of the National Party.
September 15, 1989 - Sworn in as president of South Africa.
February 2, 1990 -
In his first speech before the South African Parliament, announces that he will legalize the African National Congress and will soon free Nelson Mandela
. Mandela is freed within weeks.
October 15, 1993 -
Wins the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Nelson Mandela.
November 17, 1993 - De Klerk and other leaders ratify a new constitution, which ends the apartheid system.
December 10, 1993 -
Receives the Nobel Peace Prize
in a ceremony in Oslo.
May 1994 - De Klerk's National Party loses to Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in South Africa's first multi-racial, fully democratic elections. Takes a deputy position in the new government through 1996.
1997 - Resigns from head of the National Party and retires from politics.
December 2001 -
De Klerk's first wife, Marike, is murdered. A security guard is later convicted of her murder.
Serves on the South African delegation that helps South Africa land the 2010 Soccer World Cup
June 2006 - Is hospitalized for respiratory complications after colon cancer surgery.
May 2012 -
In an interview
with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, de Klerk said he disapproves of the effects of apartheid, but not the concept of a 'separate but equal' nation state. Later, de Klerk clarified his position calling apartheid "morally unjustifiable."
July 2, 2013 - Is hospitalized to have a pacemaker installed.