Nelson Mandela has died

By Associated Press 5:01pm, December 5, 2013 - Updated 11:01am, December 6, 2013
Giant photographs of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed in Cape Town, South Africa. (AP Photo/File)
Nelson Mandela has died. The former boxer, lawyer and freedom fighter renounced violence and became the one of the world's most beloved statesmen.

Mandela, who was 95, emerged from prison to negotiate a peaceful end to white minority rule. He was later elected president of South Africa.

His death was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma, who said "we've lost our greatest son."

Obama mourns death of icon Nelson Mandela

President Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and `profoundly good' man with the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Obama says Mandela "no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages." Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

Obama met with Mandela's family earlier this year when he visited South Africa. But he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalized throughout the U.S. president's visit.

UN chief calls Mandela `a giant for justice'

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Nelson Mandela was "a giant for justice" whose "selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom" inspired many people around the world.

"No one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations," he told reporters soon after Mandela's death was announced Thursday.

"Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world, and within each one of us, if we believe a dream and work together for justice and humanity," Ban said. "Let us continue each day to be inspired by Nelson Mandela's lifelong example to keep working for a better and more just world."

The U.N. Security Council interrupted a meeting on the tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and stood for a minute in silent tribute to Mandela.

Local politicians acknowledge Nelson Mandela's legacy

Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Subcommittee on African Affairs, released a statement about the former South African president.

"President Mandela has several important legacies, things to teach all of us around the world. First, as someone who in his early years, was a fighter against colonialism and against the oppression of apartheid. He endured decades of oppression, of imprisonment, and yet was able when he was released from prison to reconcile with his former captors, his former oppressors and lead his country forward peacefully to reconciliation and democracy," said Coons.

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Mayor Williams also issued a statement and offered his condolences to the Mandela family and people of South Africa.

Williams stated, "On his 'long walk to freedom', he displayed immeasurable courage and faith; served as a compelling example of grace and fortitude. Mr Mandela devoted his life to justice, equality, and freedom."

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