Nelson Mandela, the former South African President and icon of the country’s anti-apartheid movement, died on Thursday. He was 95.

Nelson Mandela Dies

Over the last several years, Mandela was frequently hospitalized for health issues relating to a chronic lung infection. Mandela was released from a Pretoria hospital on Sept. 1 after an 85-day stay. At the time, his condition was still listed as critical, and it was reported that he’d continue receiving treatment at his home outside of Johannesburg.

"He probably will be remembered both inside and outside South Africa as a political saint," said Michael Parks, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his covering of Mandela and South Africa's in the height of the apartheid struggle. "He had flaws that he had to overcome. He had a temper he had to deal with. He had to deal with what was going to be life imprisonment. Not all his decisions were great decisions, but what political leader's are.”

Mandela’s last public appearance was at the final game of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He’s received private audiences since, including Michele Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha.


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Nelson Mandela, Anti-Apartheid Leader

Mandela’s storied political journey began in the early 1950s, when he helped in organizing protests for the Defiance Campaign and later launched his own law first – the first run by a black person in the divided country. After the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, Mandela became the commander of the African National Congress’s military. Two years later, he found himself doing hard labor serving out a life sentence in Robben Island for conspiring to overthrow the white supremacist government.

After spending 27 years behind bars, Mandela was released from prison in 1990 by President F.W. de Klerk. In 1993, the pair shared the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year later Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. He held the office until 1999, when he devoted himself to being a global statesman and an advocate for peaceful conflict resolution. e has been awarded over 250 awards for his work in addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin.

Politicians, Celebrities Mourn Nelson Mandela On Twitter

Mandela is survived by his third wife Graca Machel; his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela; three daughters; 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

– Chelsea Regan

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For More Nelson Mandela News:

Nelson Mandela Released From Hospital

Nelson Mandela Remains In Critical Condition

Nelson Mandela’s Health Improves, Remains Hospitalized

Nelson Mandela Remains Hospitalized, Battling Lung Infection

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