“Nadine Gordimer had the extraordinary talent of writing exquisitely about the awful circumstances in which South Africans lived under apartheid, in a way that resonated with readers around the world,” Tutu said in a statement.
“She presented her stories in an unthreatening and accessible way, subtly and believably igniting the flicker of anti-apartheid consciousness in the legions of her diverse readers.
“Many of us will miss her gentle illuminating presence sorely. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”
Earlier on Monday, law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs said in a statement on behalf of the Gordimer family: “Her son Hugo and daughter Oriane and her caring helpers were with her… A private memorial service will be announced at a later date.”
It said she died “peacefully in her sleep at home in Johannesburg on Sunday”.
Gordimer was 90 years old.