NELSON MANDELA 1918 - 2013: Freedom fighter, prisoner, president, global icon death: A life in pictures...
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died at age 95 of complications from a recurring lung infection.
The anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate was a beloved figure around the world, a symbol of reconciliation from a country with a brutal history of racism.
Mandela was released from prison in 1990 after nearly 30 years for plotting to overthrow South Africa's apartheid government. In 1994, in a historic election, he became the nation's first black leader. Mandela stepped down in 1999 after a single term and retired from political and public life. (Yahoo News)
Nelson Mandela has died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa aged 95.
The anti-apartheid icon died at 12:50pm EST surrounded by close family.
Mandela's death came nearly five months after he was admitted to hospital with a lung infection.
Despite being allowed to return home three months ago, South Africa's first black president has not been able to move from a bedroom described as being a 'virtual 24 hour intensive care unit' and has needed a ventilator to breath.
In a televised address, South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed Nelson Mandela has died aged 95
Accompanied by his wife Winnie and supporters, anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela walks out of Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, a free man after 26 years of imprisonment
The anti-apartheid icon died at 12:50pm EST surrounded by close family. Mandela's death came nearly five months after he was admitted to hospital with a lung infection
Despite being allowed to return home three months ago, South Africa's first black president has not been able to move from a bedroom described as being a 'virtual 24 hour intensive care unit'
Rumors of Mr Mandela's increasing discomfort started circulating in the early afternoon Wednesday as increasing numbers of Mandela family members arrived at the former president's large Johannesburg home.
South Africa's president Jacob Zuma announced the long-expected death in a special television broadcast last night.
Mr Zuma said: 'Our nation has lost its greatest son.'
'What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.
'Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.'
The White House said tonight that the president is expected to travel to South Africa for Mandela's state funeral along with other world leaders.
'He achieved more than could be expected for any man and today he's gone home,’ Obama said at a news conference. 'Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us- his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that humans can transform for the better.'
Mr Obama visited South Africa in June and met with the former president's family but did not personally meet with the ailing leader because his health was so poor at the time.
Vigil: South Africans light candles outside Nelson Mandela's home in Johannesburg following the revered icon's death on Thursday
Far-reaching grief: Lungi Morrison, the granddaughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sings after lighting a candle for Nelson Mandela outside the South African High Commission in London
Taking to the streets: South Africans stand outside the Mandela family home after the death of Nelson Mandela. Citizens of the African nation took to the streets after their revered leader's death
Mementos: Flowers, candles and tributes are left in memory of Nelson Mandela outside the South African High Commission across from Trafalgar Square in London, including a poster from the film about the leader that premiered in the UK the night of his death
Grateful nation: People sit behind burning candles for former president Nelson Mandela on hearing of his passing outside his Johannesburg home
Sad but celebratory: While many people looked sombre and visibly emotional following news of Mandela's death, others celebrated his achievements by dancing and singing
Rapt: People listen to a radio outside Mr Mandela's house as news of his death was announced by South African president Jacob Zuma
A world indebted: Press gather outside Mandela's home. World leaders across the globe learned the somber news from South Africa's President Zuma. Many of them, notably US President Barack Obama, expressed their indebtedness to the late freedom fighter
Mr Obama previously had a personal meeting when he was just a Senator.
He said that the very first political action in his life, let alone his career, was his participation in an anti-apartheid rally held in Mandela's honor.
'We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, so it falls to us' to live by his example and 'make decisions not by hate but by love,' Mr Obama said in the press conference.
He said that the thoughts and prayers of the first family and the American people were with Mr Mandela's family.
'His life's work meant long days away from those who loved him most,' saying that he hoped they were able to value the last few months together.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to Mandela in that country.
'Nelson Mandela showed us the true meaning of courage, hope, and reconciliation,' Cameron said. 'My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.'
Cameron tweeted that the flag at No 10 Downing Street would be flown at half-mast.
'A great light has gone out in the world,' Cameron said. 'Nelson Mandela was a hero of out time.
Although increasingly frail, Mandela had been in an out of the hospital over the past five years, he was last rushed to hospital on June 8th this year.
A nation mourns: South African president Jacob Zuma tells the world of Mandela's passing in this screen grab of his Thursday address
'I cannot fully imagine my life without the example that Nelson Mandela set,' said President Obama at a news conference. The White House said the US president will travel to South Africa to attend Mandela's fuenral
Just before his death: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they arrived Thursday night to the UK premier of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom just before the film's inspiration and subject died at 95
Ominous timing: Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, greets Zindzi Mandela, right, and her sister Zenani, the daughters of former Nelson Mandela at the UK premier. The sisters reportedly only learned of their father's death as they watched the movie about his life
family begins to emerge: An unidentified granddaughter of former South African president Nelson Mandela leaves his house following his death in Johannesburg on Thursday
Global leader: The United Nations Security Council observes a minute of silence upon the news of the noted peacemaker's death
He was initially treated for a lung infection, but with three weeks his condition, it was announced, had turned 'critical'.
The South African government has never disclosed the full extent of his illness, but reputable news sources revealed that his liver and kidneys were functioning at just 50 percent.
South African media reported that he was on ventilation and undergoing regular renal dialysis.
Nelson Mandela was one of the world's most admired and beloved political leaders, an icon of the redemptive power of reconciliation.
Proud: Mandela always wanted to be seen as a man of the people and his 'big tent' approach to reaching out to the common man was widely adored
Happy family: Nelson and Winnie Mandela show off their firstborn daughter, Zindzi, at their home in Orlando West, Soweto in 1961
Starting out: From left to right are African National Congress (ANC) leader J.S. Moroka, ANC Youth League leader Nelson Mandela and President of the South African Indian Congress Yusuf Dadoo outside a Johannesburg courtroom during a trial connected with the Defiance Campaign in 1952
In court: Nelson Mandela pictured left in South Africa in 1961 and right speaking outside Drill Hall during the Treason Trial, the first major trial for treason in South Africa, in Johannesburg in 1961
South Africans took to the streets of Johannesburg in their droves to mourn former president Nelson Mandela after news of his death broke.
Mourners converged on Mandela's home in the capital to light candles and pay tribute to the man who ended apartheid and gave them their freedom.
While some looked sombre and quietly said prayers following Mandela's passing, others celebrated his achievements in a loud show of patriotism and pride.
Crowds, made up of all creeds, races and religions, sang loudly together, danced and waved candles just yards from where the former president died.
Many chanted 'it's in our hands now', referring to the legacy that Mandela has left and that many of the crowd now feel is their responsibility to continue.
Hundreds of people waved South Africa flags, embraced, clapped and chanted Mr Mandela's name as they remembered their first democratically elected president.
Here UK Prime Minister David Cameron, meets with Mandela in 2006 in Johannesburg. Cameron led the UK tributes to the South African leader Thursday. 'Nelson Mandela showed us the true meaning of courage, hope, and reconciliation,' said the PM
Mourning Madiba: President Barack Obama was one of the first world leaders to make a statement following Nelson Mandela's death
'I STUDIED HIS WORDS AND WRITINGS': PRESIDENT OBAMA EXPRESSES GRATITUDE TO MANDELA AS HE PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE LEADER
In this 2011 meeting, the first daughters Malia (left) and Sasha (right) join their mother Michelle Obama for a sit down with Mandela
Unforgettable pose: Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Mandela in 2008, as the South African leader shoots his famously endearing grin
Nelson Mandela is pictured during a visit by former U.S. president Bill Clinton on July 17, 2012 at his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on the eve of his 94th birthday
PARTING WORDS TO AN HISTORIC LEADER: SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA'S GOODBYE SPEECH TO NELSON MANDELA
Inspiration: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, South Africa, last year
Former South African president and ex-leader of African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela with American talkshow host Oprah Winfrey in 2005
Widely adored: A 1997 meeting of Mandela and Prime Minister Tony Blair at St Andrews
Men of dignity: Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama in Cape Town in 1996
Royal welcome: The Queen sits with South African President Nelson Mandela at a state banquet held in the Queen's honour in Cape Town in March 1995 - the first state visit to the country in almost 50 years
In London, royals, celebrities and members of Nelson Mandela's family--including his two daughters--attended the UK premiere of the biographical film of his life and were oblivious to the fact that he'd died just hours earlier.
Speaking from the Odeon cinema, Prince William said: 'I just wanted to say it's extremely sad and tragic news.
'We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. It's very sad.'
It was not clear what had happened to Mandela's daughter, including Zindzi, who appeared jovial and relaxed walking the red carpet before the premiere but seemed overcome when she got inside.
Family man: He is survived by second wife Machel (right), his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani with Machel
Zindzi Mandela the daughter of Nelson Mandela poses for photographers as she arrives to attend the UK premiere of her father's biopic. Reports at the time of his death said his daughter only learned the news while in the theater
Shocking news: Zindzi Mandela, center, the daughter of Nelson Mandela arrives to attend the UK premiere of the movie "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" not long before the sisters learned of their iconic father's death
Here, the Mandela sisters are pictured with Anant Singh, the producer of the film about their father
The former lawyer spent 27 years in apartheid prisons for his political beliefs before becoming South Africa's first black president.
His critical role in both achieving full democracy in South Africa and then keeping the peace when it arrived in 1994 earned him a Nobel Peace Prize.
But it was the magnanimity he showed his former oppressors - coupled with an intense personal charm - that has earned him admirers all over the globe.
A huge state funeral, attended by most world leaders, is expected to be held in the coming days.
Having served just one term as president of South Africa, Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has only rarely been glimpsed in public since then.
His last public appearance was at football's 2010 World Cup final when his wife had to support his arm to allow him to wave to the crowd.
As well as receiving treatment for prostate cancer, stomach pain and problems with his eyes, Mandela's most persistent medical problems have been respiratory.
He damaged his lungs and contracted tuberculosis while digging in a lime quarry during the 18 years he spent imprisoned on the notorious Robben Island, outside Cape Town.
He has been admitted to hospital numerous times over past decade - and five times since December last year.
He underwent treatment for, among other things, a respiratory disorder, a 'long-standing abdominal complaint', gallstones and, in April this year, for the removal of fluid from his lungs.
Such is Mandela's popularity in South Africa - where he is lionised for his role in healing the country's racial divides - that many public figures have tried to attach themselves to the former African National Congress (ANC) leader's legacy.
Jacob Zuma's decision, last April, to allow himself to be filmed standing next to an unsmiling, expressionless Mandela in hospital drew much adverse comment, including from Mandela's family.
The ANC's main political opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has also been accused of trying to 'hijack' his legacy by highlighting its historical connection to the man most South African refer to by his clan name Madiba.
South African Oscar-winner Charlize Theron led the tributes to Nelson Mandela tonight alongside movie mogul Harvey Weinstein - just hours after the Royal premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Here, Weinstein greets stars Idris Elba (right) and Naomie Harris (center)
The former South African president with award winning actress, Charlize Theron, in South Africa in 2003 after she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the movie Monster
Famous friends: British supermodel Naomi Campbell and Nelson Mandela at a Othandweni orphanage in Hillbrow, South Africa, in 2001
QUOTES FROM A GREAT MAN: UNFORGETTABLE WORDS SPOKEN BY NELSON MANDELA THAT HELPED TO SHAPE THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD
While some political commentators have expressed a fear that Mandela's death could destabilise South Africa by re-opening racial wounds, most South Africans are well used to the idea of his passing.
Indeed, most serious political analysts in the country recognise that Mr Mandela's death is unlikely to create a political shockwave.
More significant, they say, may be the fact that without Mandela's immense moral authority, the ruling ANC party may be more vulnerable to charges of corruption and incompetence.
Mandela, who is generally considered to be 'the father' of modern South Africa, has said that his greatest regret has been his failure to have raised his own children.
He married three times. Two wives remain alive: his ex wife Winnie and Graca Machel. He has three remaining children, another four step children, 17 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
He was born into African aristocracy, a descendant of kings of the Thembu people, in Transkeiin 1918.
His father had four wives, among whom his mother ranked third.
He was the first of his family to attend school, and it was his teacher who gave him the English name Nelson in place of his given name, Rolihlahla.
At 19, he attended Fort Hare University, where he soon became involved in student politics - or rather, in organising a boycott of them.
Rejecting a marriage arranged for him by his tribal elders, he became briefly a mine guard, then was articled to a Johannesburg law firm.
He began living in the Alexandra black township, and started law studies at Witwatersrand University, where he met fellow students and future political activists Ruth First, Joe Slovo and Harry Schwarz.
In the early 1950s, Mandela became deeply involved in radical resistance to apartheid, while he and fellow-activist Oliver Tambo ran a law firm, offering cheap advice to township residents.
Mandela was initially an admirer of India’s Mahatma Gandhi, committed to non-violent resistance. Yet in 1956, he and 150 others were arrested and charged with treason.
Upcoming release: A still from The Weinstein Company shows Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in the upcoming film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
A still Idris Elba, left, as Nelson Mandela, and Riaad Moosa, as Mandela's fellow political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, in the biographical film. The film premier in the UK the night Mandela died
On conviction, he and his fellow defendants escaped the gallows, but were sentenced to life imprisonment.
He spent the next 27 years behind bars, 18 of them on the notorious Robben Island, near Cape Town.
The film documenting parts of this struggle, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, stars Idris Elba as Mandela and Naomie Harris as his former wife Winnie.
In recent years various family members and friends have argued about how best to maintain his legacy. The disputes are now likely to worsen.
His marriage to Winnie had fallen apart after his release and he was now married to Graca Machel, the widowed former first lady of neighboring Mozambique.
He is survived by Machel; his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second.
THE ANTI-APARTHEID FIGHTER WHO WENT TO PRISON FOR THE CAUSE
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