HEATHER CHIN, MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA
Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela has died at age 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed that Mandela had died on Thursday at 8:50 p.m. South African Standard Time (1:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).
Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa, the world renowned civil rights activist went on to become South Africa’s first black president as well as a major mover in the fight to end the South African apartheid regime. His efforts and continuous activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Mandela was hospitalized in April 2013 for 18 days due to a lung infection. He had previously been treated for gall stones in December 2012. His last public appearance was in July 2010 at the World Cup in South Africa.
Following Mandela’s passing, national and local leaders offered their condolences and spoke of his legacy.
“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” said President Obama. “So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said flags at City Hall will be lowered to half-staff in Mandela’s honor.
“When I presented Nelson Mandela with the Key to the City in 2005, he spoke passionately about the work of his foundation and his ongoing efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic and many other important issues. He devoted his life to building a more just, equal and compassionate world, and we are all better for it, said Bloomberg. “On behalf of the people of the City of New York, I offer my sincere condolences to the Mandela family and the people of South Africa.”