Nelson Mandela's death: World mourns 'hero,' 'icon,' 'father'

World leaders, politicians, celebrities
and public figures all across the globe
mourned the passing of Nelson
Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and
South Africa's first black president,
who died Thursday at home at the age
of 95.
Mandela will have a state burial on
Dec. 15 in his hometown of Qunu,
South African President Jacob Zuma
announced Friday. Dec. 8 has been
declared as a national day of prayer
and reflection.
The White House announced Friday
that President Obama and the First
Lady will go to South Africa next week
to pay their respects to Mandela and to
participate in memorial events.
Statements on his passing poured in
from around the world, with Obama
saying he was one of the countless
millions of people who drew
inspiration from Mandela's life and his
"fierce dignity."
"He achieved more than could be
expected of any man," Obama said,
visibly emotional. "Madiba transformed
South Africa and moved all of us," he
added, referring to Mandela by his
affectionately used clan name.
Zuma first announced Mandela's
death, saying, "He is now resting. He is
now at peace."
He added, "Our nation has lost his
greatest son. Our people have lost
their father."
Pope Francis on Friday sent a telegram
of condolences to Zuma, paying tribute
to Mandela's legacy of "promoting the
human dignity of all the nation's
citizens and in forging a new South
Africa built on the firm foundations of
non-violence, reconciliation and
Mandela's longtime friend and the first
black Archbishop of Cape Town,
Desmond Tutu, also paid tribute at a
church service.
"Do we want to set up a memorial for
him?" he asked the congregation. "I
think he wouldn't want something in
stone. Ultimately he would want us,
South Africans to be his memorial."
"Thank you for what he has enabled us
to know what we can become," he
added. "Help us to become that kind of
Newspapers across the world splashed
the news and photos of Mandela
across their front pages, dubbing him
"Tata" -- or "father" -- in South Africa,
"icon of icons" in Ireland, a "colossus"
in Britain and a "hero" in Brazil.
In the United States, former presidents
from Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy
Carter to Geoge W. Bush paid tribute.
President George H. W. Bush said in a
statement that the revered South
African icon "was a man of
tremendous moral courage, who
changed the course of history in his
His son, President George W. Bush,
said Mandela was "one of the great
forces for freedom and equality of our
time," who "bore his burdens with
dignity and grace, and our world is
better off because of his example."
Carter echoed those feelings in a
statement: "His passion for freedom
and justice created new hope for
generations of oppressed people
"I will never forget my friend Madiba,"
former President Bill Clinton tweeted,
while Secretary of State John Kerry said
Mandela "will be remembered as a
pioneer for peace."
I will never forget my friend
6:46 PM - 5 Dec 2013
Bill Clinton
@billclinton Follow
"Mandela's strength as a teacher is that
he not only advised us what to do, he
showed us how," former Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright said.
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was held under
house arrest for 15 years, said she was
grieving for a man who stood for
human rights and equality.
"He made us all understand that
nobody should be penalized for the
color of their skin or for the
circumstances in which he is born,"
she said. "He also made us understand
we can change the world by changing
attitudes, by changing perceptions."
Chinese President Xi Jinping also
lauded Mandela as "a world-renowned
statesman," state news agency Xinhua
said. He added that the Chinese people
will always remember Mandela's
extraordinary contributions to, "the
cause of human progress."
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who
witnessed the former British colony
transform into a democracy after
decades of violence under apartheid
rule, said she was "deeply saddened"
by Nelson Mandela's death. She added
that he "worked tirelessly for the good
of his country, and his legacy is the
peaceful South Africa we see today."
Upon leaving the premiere for the
movie "Mandela: Long Walk To
Freedom" that he attended with his
wife Duchess Kate in London, the
queen's grandson Prince William said
the news of Mandela's death was
"extremely sad and tragic."
"We're just reminded what an
extraordinary and inspiring man
Nelson Mandela was," he said.
Actor Idris Elba, who portrayed
Mandela in that movie, said he was
stunned by the news. "We have lost
one of the greatest human beings to
have walked this earth, I only feel
honored to be associated with him,"
Elba said.
Mandela's two youngest daughters
were attending the film premiere when
they received word of his death, and
left immediately.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said
his name was "always associated with
the fight against the oppression of his
people and with overcoming the
apartheid regime. Not even years in
prison could break Nelson Mandela or
make him.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon said he was saddened by the
passing of the former president, whom
he described as "a man of quiet dignity
and towering achievement, a giant for
justice and a down-to-earth human
Bill and Melinda Gates, whose
foundation works to fight poverty and
AIDS in developing countries including
South Africa, also said it had been "an
honor" to meet Mandela and that they
had "left each visit inspired and more
optimistic about the opportunity to
improve the lives of the poor
throughout the world."
"From prisoner to president, Nelson
Mandela was tireless in his pursuit of
Equality and justice for all people,"
they said in a statement.
"His was a spirit born free, destined to
soar above the rainbows. Today his
spirit is soaring through the heavens,"
boxing legend Muhammad Ali said in a
statement. He was famously pictured
throwing punches with the leader in a
mock fight.
"Nelson Mandela showed us how to
love rather than hate, not because he
had never surrendered to rage or
violence, but because he learned that
love would do a better job," Irish
musician Bono said.
"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," said actor Morgan
Freeman, who portrayed Mandela in
the movie "Invictus."
"He conceived a model for mortal
enemies to overcome their hatred and
find a way through compassion to
rebuild a nation based on truth, justice
and the power of forgiveness,"
musician Paul Simon said.
Oprah Winfrey said she was honored
to have had the chance to meet
Mandela. "He was everything you've
ever heard and more -- humble and
unscathed by bitterness. And he always
loved to tell a good joke. Being in his
presence was like sitting with grace
and majesty at the same time," Winfrey
said in a statement.
Human rights advocate Martin Luther
King III said, "Through his and his
people's long walk to freedom, Mr.
Mandela's constant fight for equality
personified, what my father often said,
'Injustice anywhere is a threat to
justice everywhere.'" An emotional scene emerged outside of
Mandela's house, where a multi-racial
crowd gathered late into the night,
singing liberation songs, chanting and
waving flags.
Johannesburg resident Hamsa Moosa,
31, told The Associated Press he
"wouldn't be free" if not for Mandela.
"I feel relieved on his soul that finally
he is able to rest, finally he is able to
be in a peaceful situation," Ouma
Mpela of Cape Town, said.
Thirty-two-year-old Johannesburg
resident Salmon Matlou said, "I don't
know what's going to happen but I'm
scared because we like him so much
and now he's gone."
"It feels like it's my father who has
died. He was such a good man, who
had good values the nation could look
up to. He was a role model unlike our
leaders of today," said Annah
Khokhozela, 37, a nanny, speaking in
The African National Congress, the
country's governing political party,
said in a statement: "Our nation has
lost a colossus, an epitome of humility,
equality, justice, peace and the hope of
millions; here and abroad."
Mandela spent 27 years in prison and
led his country to democracy. Though
he was in power for only five years as
his country's first black president, his
moral influence earned him the praise
and respect of people all over the
"His journey from a prisoner to a
president embodied the promise that
human beings and countries can
change for the better," Obama said