South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that Nelson Mandela has died. He was 95 years old. Zuma stated, “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.” He will have a state funeral and will be mourned worldwide.
“Death is something inevitable.When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people&his country,he can rest in peace” #Madiba
— NelsonMandela (@NelsonMandela) December 5, 2013
Mandela has been dealing with several health concerns recently. In 2011, he was hospitalized for a respiratory infection, and in 2012 he returned to the hospital to have a gallstone removed. This past June, it was reported Mandela was hospitalized for a lung infection, and many feared the worst when media announced his condition was critical. He was discharged from the hospital in September, although he was still in unstable condition.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, which started a Free Mandela movement advocating for his release. He was released in 1990 and continued his work as a politician and activist He earned the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential medal of Freedom, and over 250 other honors and awards. He was elected as the first black President of South Africa in 1994, and retired in 1999 to focus on activism. As his health declined, he announced he was “retiring from retirement” in 2004 at the age of 85.
Mandela leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Graça Machel, 8 children including 2 step-children, and a host of admirers globally.