In a statement, Obama, 60, wrote: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend, and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere.”
“He never lost his impish sense of humor and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly,” the former president added, alongside a photograph of himself and Tutu hugging.
Queen Elizabeth, 95, said in her own statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE, “I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world.”
“I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour,” she continued. “Archbishop Tutu’s loss will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem.”