Renowned South African photojournalist David Goldblatt, who documented the impact of apartheid on the lives of ordinary people, died on Monday from cancer aged 87.

Born of Lithuanian immigrants in Johannesburg's gold reef, Goldblatt gained international recognition in the 1960s and 70s as apartheid laws took hold in South Africa, culminating in the 1976 Soweto youth uprising.

His later work in the democratic era recorded the inner city lives of middle class residents, both black and white.

Nelson Mandela birthday card
A giant birthday card has been built to celebrate apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday (Twitter)

Goldblatt was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2016 and a feature-length documentary on his life premiered last year.

"Goldblatt's photographs showed the quiet, yet equally poignant features of the brutal apartheid regime," said the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, which has exhibited much of his work over his 50-year career.