South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu cancels travel plans to battle cancer

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (above, in a 2013 file photo) has cancelled all travel plans for the rest of the year in order to battle cancer, his foundation said Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (above, in a 2013 file photo) has cancelled all travel plans for the rest of the year in order to battle cancer, his foundation said Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has cancelled all travel plans for the rest of the year in order to battle cancer, his foundation said Tuesday.

The 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate will embark "on a new course of medication to manage the prostate cancer he's been living with for the past 15 years," a statement said.

It is the latest medical setback for the anti-apartheid icon, who was hospitalised last year for a persistent infection.

A battery of tests at that time showed no new malignancy.

Tutu had been scheduled to attend a Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Rome this week.

Under apartheid, Tutu campaigned against white minority rule during the years that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Officially retired, he is still outspoken on the world's injustices, and is widely viewed as South Africa's moral conscience.

Last week he urged South Africans to emulate Mandela's example.

"Our obligation to Madiba is to continue to build the society he envisaged, to follow his example," Tutu said, using Mandela's clan name.

Tutu survived an illness believed to be polio as a baby and battled tuberculosis as a teenager.