Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference late Thursday, saying “we’ve lost our greatest son.”
Mr Mandela had been suffering from a lung illness for a long time.
He had been receiving treatment at home since September, when he was discharged from hospital.
South Africans have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader.
Crowds paid tribute, dancing and singing in front of Mr Mandela’s former home in Soweto throughout the night, the BBC reports.
Across the world, leaders, celebrities and members of the public have been paying tribute.