Sad news. Nelson Mandela has passed away. The 95-year-old former South African president has battled numerous health issues recently including a severe lung infection that resulted in several hospitalizations over the past year. Current President Jacob Zuma confirmed the news at a press conference saying,
Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed.
He passed on peacefully in the comfort of his home.
He is now resting. He is now at peace.
Our nation has lost his greatest son. Our people have lost their father.
In 1964, Mandela was sent to Robben Island prison for sabotage and plotting to overthrow the government. he served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999, guiding the country to democracy. President Obama stated,
We have lost one of the most influential, courageous & profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with.”
Through his fierce dignity & unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others—Madiba transformed South Africa.
His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings—& countries—can change for the better.
My first political action was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings.
The day…he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when…guided by their hopes rather than…fears
Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela.
British actor Idris Elba portrays the leader in the film Mandela:Long Walk To Freedom in theaters on Christmas Day. He is survived by his daughter Makaziwe from his first marriage and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second.
UPDATED 9:15 AM EST
I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now.
What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Morgan Freeman, who portrayed the leader in the 2009 film Invictus commented,
Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.
As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.
(AP, CNN, Twitter, Instagram, NY Daily News)