Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

By
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 03:  Nelson Mandela smiles during a lunch to Benefit the Mandela Children's Foundation as part of the celebrations of the opening of the new One&Only Cape Town resort on April 3, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. The One&Only is Sol Kerzner's first hotel in his home country since 1992. The 130 room property is One&Only's first Urban resort and sits in the fashionable Waterfront district. Celebrities from all over the world including Mariah Carey, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Thandie Newton and Marisa Tomei will attend the event. Gordon Ramsay will be launching his first restaurant in Africa at the resort, Maze and Robert De Niro will be opening Nobu. Nelson Mandela will be attending an intimate luncheon at Maze on Friday to celebrate his long-standing relationship with Mr. Kerzner.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Photo: MICHEL CLEMENT,DANIEL JANIN/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-Apartheid South African leader Nelson Mandela passed away today after months of health problems. "The founding president of our democratic nation has departed," current president Jacob Zuma confirmed in a statement. "He is now resting, he is now at peace." Mandela was 95.

His former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said on Sunday that Mandela was "quite ill." He spent three months in the hospital earlier this year with a lung infection, but was released near his birthday in "stable but critical condition." Since then, the bedroom at his Johannesburg home was "like an ICU ward."

Madiba, as he's known locally, served as president from 1994 to 1999, the first black South African to hold the office, following decades fighting against Apartheid and 27 years in prison. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

"We've lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will spend time with on this earth," said President Barack Obama in a speech from the White House on Thursday evening. "He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages."