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Apartheid-Era South African President Viljoen Dies


Marais Viljoen, a former president of South Africa during the apartheid era, has died at the age of 91.

Viljoen died Thursday of heart failure in a Pretoria hospital.

He was president between 1979 and 1984, when the position was still largely ceremonial.

Viljoen supported apartheid policies giving preference to whites but was a seen as a moderate within the ruling National Party.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation quotes his daughter, Elna Myers, as saying her father was not as combative and more diplomatic than other party members.

Viljoen retired from politics after 1984 and played little role in South Africa's move from apartheid to a multi-racial democracy in the early 1990s.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.