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05 December 2013

Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday that the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's first democratically elected president and a symbol of reconciliation to many around the world, has died, the Associated Press reported.
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Mandela was at his boyhood home in the nation's Eastern Cape Province at the time of his death. His room in his home was like an intensive care unit.
"He is now resting. He is now at peace," Zuma said in a televised address on Thursday night, adding that Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.
"What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human," the president said. "We saw in him what we seek in ourselves."
President Barack Obama said he was influenced by Mandela.

Mandela "achieved more than could be expected for most men," the U.S. president said in an afternoon address, adding that the world has lost one of the most influential people in the world
"He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages. He transformed South Africa and moved all of us."
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is known for being jailed for 27 years under white racist rule and released in 1990.
Mandela also played a leading role in steering divided South Africa from the apartheid era to democracy and became the country's first black president in all-race elections in 1994.

Long illness

Mandela was hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung infection. Initial reports from the Presidency suggested Mandela was stable, although his condition was serious. But on June 23, the Presidency announced that Mandela's condition had deteriorated and he was critical.
Court affidavits soon confirmed that the former statesman was on an assisted-breathing, life support machine. More reports emerged about Nelson Mandela in the days that followed, that he was in a "permanent vegetative state", although the presidency denied these, maintaining that he was "critical yet stable".
On his 95th birthday, July 18, President Jacob Zuma announced an improvement in Mandela's health. Mandela was discharged from hospital in September and transported to his home in Houghton.  In November, his family said he remained "quite ill", but his pneumonia had cleared up.  President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela on November 18 and said Mandela was still in a critical condition, but that he continued to respond to treatment.

On December 3 his daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said the former president was "strong" and "courageous", although he was "on his death bed". Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela, said his grandfather was "not doing well", although, "he is still with us".
His declining health has been the subject of much speculation over the past few years. He was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2001 but made a full recovery. In 2011, he was admitted to hospital following a severe respiratory infection and a year later underwent a scheduled surgery for a longstanding abdominal complaint.

Mandela was plagued by recurring lung ailments in recent years. He spent 18 days in hospital at the end of 2012 and, despite receiving home-based high care thereafter, was back in hospital in March and April 2013.
There were renewed fears for his health when he returned to hospital in June. Despite assurances from the presidency that he was in a "serious but stable" condition, South Africans began preparing themselves for the worst as Mandela's family members flocked to Johannesburg, struggle stalwarts paid visits to the icon, and the world's media gathered in Qunu, Houghton and at the Pretoria hospital where he was treated.
The much-loved Mandela, known affectionately as Tata Madiba, became increasingly frail and retired from public life in 2004 at the age of 85.
Mandela's last public appearance was a brief one, at the end of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Since then, he has split his time between his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, and his ancestral home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Mandela became the symbol of the struggle against apartheid after he was convicted in the Rivonia Trial of charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
At the end of his trial, Mandela gave a now iconic speech in which he said: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Mandela, a key figure in the African National Congress, who helped found the party's youth league and armed wing,Umkhonto We Sizwe, was imprisoned for 27 years before he was finally released in 1990 at the age of 71.

Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, together with former president FW De Klerk, for the 'peaceful termination of the apartheid regime and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa". A year later, he was elected president in the country's first democratic election.
He stepped down from the presidency in 1999 after one term in office but continued with a busy public schedule. He brokered negotiations for peace in Rwanda, established the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation for educational scholarship, and launched the 46664 Aids fundraising foundation.

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