A former president of South Africa and the last white person to lead the country, Mr de Klerk has died at the age of 85.
He was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994.
Mr de Klerk, who was also a key figure in the nation’s transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer this year, a spokesman said.
In 1990 he announced he was releasing anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, leading to multi-party polls in 1994.
A statement from the former president’s FW de Klerk Foundation on Thursday morning read: “Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye (Cape Town) earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”