Belfast Telegraph

Nelson Mandela dead

South African leader Nelson Mandela has passed away at the age of 95.

The South African civil rights activist perished in Johannesburg at the age of 95 surrounded by loved ones, according to Deadline.

Nelson’s health has been ailing of late and now the nation he led out of apartheid is grieving the loss of their first black president.

"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family," South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed Thursday.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."

Nelson is celebrated for putting an end to apartheid in South Africa, a system of laws that imposed severe segregation between whites and blacks in the country.

In 1962 he was arrested and prosecuted for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

He was imprisoned for 27 years and during his time behind bars he galvanised the people to topple the oppressive apartheid regime.

By the time of his release in 1990 Nelson became an international figure and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

In 1994 he helped arrange the first multi-ethnic election in South Africa and was subsequently voted in as president.

Nelson was married three times. He leaves behind six children and his widow Graça Machel, whom he wed in 1998.

Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom, a biopic on Nelson’s life starring Idris Elba, has recently hit theatres.

Britain’s Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton attended the London premiere of Mandela on Thursday to honour his contribution to the world.

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