'The world's brightest light has gone out'
Global leaders, friends and family have shared their condolences after the death of Madiba.
JOHANNESBURG - Condolences are streaming in from all corners of the world after the death of former President Nelson Mandela at the age of 95.
US President Barack Obama says the world must now pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived.
"The day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they are guided by their hopes and not by their fears. Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. As long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him."
Obama, who visited Madiba's prison cell on Robben Island on a recent trip to South Africa, says Mandela inspired his own political awakening.
President Obama remembers Nelson Mandela: "A man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice."
- Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 5, 2013
In a live televised address, British Prime Minister David Cameron described Madiba as a selfless freedom fighter who inspired the world.
"Tonight one of the brightest lights of our world has gone out. Nelson Mandela wasn't just a hero of our time, but a hero of all time. The first president of a free South Africa, a man who suffered so much for freedom and justice and a man who through his dignity and triumph, inspired millions."
Cameron said his nation mourns with ours and his people share South Africa's loss.
"The strongest impression of all when you met him was of his extraordinary compassion, generosity and forgiveness. Your greatest son has moved millions and I believe that his inspiration for the future will be every bit as powerful as the extraordinary things he achieved in his remarkable life."
A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I've asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast.
- David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 5, 2013
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Mandela as one of the most prominent role models of our time who will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa and a leader of tremendous morality.
Israel's President Shimon Peres says the world has lost a great leader who changed the face of history.
Peres says Mandela was a human rights fighter who made his mark on the war against discrimination and racism.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian people will never forget Madiba's statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free.
Mandela first visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1999.
He stressed his respect for Israel's right to exist even as he defended his relationship with Palestinian leaders.
Mandela was awarded an honorary doctorate from Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
French President François Hollande says Madiba showed that human will could not only break the chains of servitude but free the energy to succeed in building a common destiny.
"Mandela's message will never die. It will continue to inspire freedom fighters and give confidence to people who defend just causes and universal rights."
Australian government officials have conveyed condolences to South Africa.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has led the tribute describing Mandela as one of the great figures of Africa and one of the great figures of the last century.
We mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela. He will be remembered as more than a political leader - he was a moral leader http://t.co/ZsCKetei0m
- Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) December 5, 2013
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also lamented Madiba's death, saying the world has lost a great man.
Another former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who met Mandela, said there will be sadness throughout South Africa but adds he believes people will fight for his ideals even more strongly than in the past.
Former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan says Mandela is an inspiration to all.
"I have lost a dear friend."
While the United Nations said:
We join the world in mourning Mandela who was no stranger to the @UN --
take a look at these photos: http://t.co/aqkTchtkFK
- United Nations (@UN) December 5, 2013
Britain's Prince William described Madiba's death as "extremely sad and tragic", immediately after attending the London premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
William was told of Mandela's death during the screening, and gave a brief statement following a two-minute silence held at the end of the film.
"We are just reminded of what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now."
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said "Mandela taught us we can change the world" and paid tribute to him as a great human being.
The Dalai Lama says he will "miss his dear friend" who he has hailed as "a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity."
Germany says he was an "example for humanity", India has described him as a "giant amongst men", and China has praised his "historic contribution to South Africa and the world."
The ruling party says it learned of Madiba's death with deep sorrow and a profound sense of loss.
The ANC's Keith Khoza says the nation has lost an epitome of humility, equality, justice, peace and hope for millions in South Africa and abroad.
He says this is a moment to look back at the sacrifices that were made by Madiba.
"Let us celebrate the gift of his life this moment on, let us honour his memory in a dignified way as his leadership and stature deserves and let us participate in all the activities organised in his honour in a disciplined and respectful manner. Rest in peace comrade President Isitwalandwe Nelson Mandela."
- ANC Info Feed (@MyANC_) December 5, 2013
Former President FW de Klerk says Madiba will always be remembered for his courage to bring change.
"Madiba's biggest legacy was his commitment to reconciliation, his remarkable lack of bitterness and the way in which he didn't only talk about reconciliation, but made reconciliation happen in South Africa."
Former Democratic Alliance leader, Tony Leon, says he distinctly remembers receiving a visit from Mandela in hospital.
In 1999, Madiba annoyed opposition party politicians by referring to their role in South African politics as Mickey Mouse.
A while later, Leon had a multiple heart bypass operation and received a surprise visit from Madiba.
"The night before my operation I was anxious and while I was lying in my hospital bed, there was a knock on the door and the world famous voice said 'hello is that Mickey Mouse, it's Goofy can I come see you?' and there was Mandela who came into the room with his radiating smile, and I have no doubt his visit hastened a speedy recovery."
Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille says the best tribute the world can pay to Madiba is to honour his legacy in the future.
Today we light a candle in the bedroom where Madiba spent the night putting together his 1st cabinet before his 1st Parliament. #RIPMadiba
- Helen Zille (@helenzille) December 6, 2013
The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane says Madiba the entire country felt close to Mandela.
"When Nelson Mandela became president in 1994 he became the father of the nation."
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has also paid tribute,saying he and his family are in mourning today.
Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says Madiba was like a rare gift to this world.
"What a contribution to South Africa, it is unparalleled to any other contribution all of us have made as freedom fighters in our endeavours to liberate our country. What a supernatural human being, what a phenomenon and what a life."
Wow JZ has announced that #Madiba has passed on. We can't claim to be shocked but very difficult still. Strength to his family and comrades
- Zwelinzima Vavi (@Zwelinzima1) December 5, 2013
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says South Africans must remember the sacrifices Mandela made.
De Lille says she will always have fond memories of him as she was always invited to his birthdays.
"He always used to phone me on my birthday and I used to go to all his birthdays. I was so honoured to be appointed as a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund because he loved children."
Judge Johann Kriegler led the Independent Electoral Commission during the country's first elections in 1994
He says Mandela played a key role in the run-up to those polls.
"There were times in the run up to the elections in 1994 where we were really teetering on the brink of disaster and Mr Mandela and to a lesser extent Mr De Klerk, really steadied the course.
Mandela's friends have also spoken of a courageous man and a natural leader.
Prominent human rights advocate George Bizos said Mandela was a very good friend.
"He was prepared to sacrifice his liberty, and eventually even his life."
Bizos says Mandela always spoke fondly of meeting his comrades again in the afterlife.
"He would jokily say that if there is life after death, he will enjoy it because he will meet his old comrades like Chief Lutuli, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo and they will form a branch of the ANC in heaven and we would laugh about it."
Ahmed Kathrada knew Madiba for almost 70 years.
"I was informed earlier last night that he was going to pass away at some point and by coincidence; I was speaking at a meeting where I had to speak specifically about him. I couldn't disclose to the people what I knew but I had to do my best and recall the time I spent with him."
Franklin Sonn, who was the country's ambassador to the US under Madiba's administration, says he will dearly miss his friend.
"He was the father of the nation and he led us to new hope for a better country and better standard of life and living. As South Africans, we must now fulfill his dream."
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says Mandela was not a saint but was saintly, teaching South Africa and the world forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation.
Sello Hatang of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory says he will devote his career and life to ensuring Madiba's legacy lives on.
"The most important thing is for us to see how we can build around the energy, that brought this tragic loss and to ensure that we preserve, share and understand his legacy."
"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
The ANC's Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte, who worked closely with Madiba over the years, says he had an incredible presence.
"He made you feel like he was your own relative. I think we've lost a great man, a great unifier of our people in this country."
Furthermore, television personality Dali Tambo says the death of the global icon marks the end of an era.
"I feel like a rare species has disappeared from this earth and we'll never get it again."