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Desmond Tutu awarded $1.7 million Templeton Prize for lifelong spiritual work

The John Templeton Foundation says it has awarded South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu one of the world's leading religion prizes.

The organization says Tutu, 81, is the winner of the 2013 Templeton Prize for his "lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles." The honor comes with a 1.1 million-pound ($1.7 million) award.

The foundation said Thursday that Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London on May 21.

Responding to the announcement, Tutu thanked supporters and said that he accepted the prize "in a representative capacity."

The Templeton Prize was established in 1972 by the investor and philanthropist John Templeton. Last year's winner was the Dalai Lama.