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After months of speculation and reports of diminished health, iconic South African leader Nelson Mandela has died at age 95.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address on Thursday night, adding that Mr. Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. “His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love.”

Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government for his fight against Apartheid and was released in 1990. He led the African National Congress, long a banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country’s history. He was South Africa’s first Black President.

Mandela’s respiratory problems in recent years may be connected to his imprisonment, when he contracted tuberculosis after working in a prison quarry. He had been in hospital in recent months.

His hospitalization on June 8, 2013, marked his fifth visit to hospital in two years. In April 2013, he spent 10 days in hospital after being treated for pneumonia.  He finally succumbed to complications from the illness.

While there have been several films about the life of Mandela, actor Idris Elba currently stars in “Long Walk To Freedom,” which is in theaters now.



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South African Icon Nelson Mandela Dies At 95  was originally published on