Nelson Mandela, the former South African president whose stubborn defiance survived 27 years in prison and led to the dismantling of the country’s racist and brutal apartheid system, has died.
He was 95 years old.
He had a number of issues with his health in recent years, including repeated hospitalization with a chronic lung infection.
Mandela had been listed in “serious but stable condition” after entering the hospital in June.
Mandela is seen as a global symbol of freedom and triumph over adversity.
He became South Africa’s first black president after the end of apartheid and is revered among the country’s 53 million people as the father of the nation.
Madela was born on July 18, 1918.
He led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy and because of that he was jailed for 27 years.
He was released in 1990 and he became president four years later.
He was known for his charisma, his sense of humor and the lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment while in prison.
Mandela was a deep believer in democracy and equal opportunity. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” he once said. “It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”