Nelson Mandela, the revered South African anti-apartheid icon who spent 27 years in prison, led his country to democracy, and became its first black president, died Thursday. He was 95. President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's death in a live televised address, saying South Africa "has lost its greatest son." "Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we bid him farewell," he added.
Very few world leaders are able to rise to the level of genuine giants of history. There can be no doubt that Nelson Mandela, through his heroism, sacrifice, and leadership, earned his iconic status.
President Obama, who earlier this year visited the jail cell that imprisoned Mandela for decades, said the South African leader "belongs to the ages." Obama added, "We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela ever again. So it falls to us, as best we can, to carry forward the example that he set."
The U.S. president went on to say, "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. Like so many around the globe, I cannot imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set... So love as I live, I will do whatever I can to learn from him."
As per his wishes, Mandela will reportedly be buried in the village of Qunu, where he grew up.
Rachel will have far more on Mandela's life and legacy on tonight's show.