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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa, Dies At Age 95

Nelson Mandela Dies

Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died in his Johannesburg home. He was 95 years old. He had been very ill, and had spent most of the year in and out of the hospital. He was supposed to meet with President Obama this past summer, but his illness prevented the meeting.

"He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages," Obama said in an appearance at the White House. "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set."

Obama is likely to travel to South Africa for Mandela's funeral, though a trip has not yet been officially announced.

The two presidents only met once in person, but did speak occasionally on the phone. After the 2008 election, when Mandela called Obama to congratulate him on his victory. Obama also called Mandela in 2010 after his young granddaughter was killed in a car accident. Obama also wrote the introduction to Mandela's memoir, Conversations With Myself.

Born on July 18, 1918, Mandela was married three times, has five children, and 20 grandchildren. In the 1960's, Mandela was sentenced to 30 years in prison, branded a terrorist and traitor by South Africa's Apartheid government. While there he was permitted just one visitor a year, and could either write or receive one letter every six months. Despite this, he completed a law degree. After his release, he was elected president of South Africa and served in this role from 1994 to 1999.

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