Tributes pour in for Russel Botman

Stellenbosch rector Russel Botman passed away in his sleep on Friday night.

Stellenbosch University Vice-Chancellor Russle Botman. Picture: via Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced for the late Stellenbosch Professor Russel Botman.

The Stellenbosch university rector passed away in his sleep on Friday night at the age of 61.

Botman was first appointed as rector in 2007 and was reappointed for a second five year term in 2012.

He was also a serving Director of Higher Education in South Africa, Senior Vice President of the Association of African Universities, Chairperson of the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 Board and a director at Media24.

The Bloemfontein born professor, who is also an ordained minister, has several accolades to his name, including an honorary doctorate by Hope College in Michigan, USA for leadership in higher education.

He was scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland next month.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu are among the many people from around the country who have paid tribute to the well known academic.

Keith Khoza of the African National Congress says Botman was a gifted intellectual.

"He's an accomplished academic who has been a pioneer in many areas. In his life he has demonstrated leadership and he has demonstrated commitment to this country."

The Democratic Alliance's Ivan Meyer has also expressed his sadness.

"This is indeed a great loss, as he was a symbol of hope and academic excellence at the University of Stellenbosch."