(CNN) -- Here's an in-depth look at the life of former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, F.W. de Klerk.
Personal: Birth date: March 18, 1936
Birth place: Johannesburg, South Africa
Birth name: Frederik Willem de Klerk
Father: Johannes de Klerk, politician
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: Jan (son), Willem, and Susan.
Education: Potchefstroom University, BA and LLB (1958)
Other Facts: 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.
Timeline: 1961-1972 - Practices law in Vereeniging.
1972 - Is elected to Parliament as 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 was 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.
2004 - Serves on the South African delegation that helps South Africa land the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
June 2006 - 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".