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Nelson Mandela Dead At 95

Courtesy NBC News

Courtesy NBC News

Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, who became a worldwide icon for equality during the struggle to dismantle his country’s racist apartheid system, has died at the age of 95.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death during a televised news conference shortly before 5 p.m.

Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. In the last three years, Mandela battled with a recurring lung infection and other health problems.

His daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said Wednesday that Mandela was putting up a courageous fight from “his deathbed.”

Obama reaction

President Barack Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of Mandela.

Obama says Mandela "no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages."

Speaking from the White House, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

Obama met with Mandela's family earlier this year when he visited South Africa. But he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalized throughout the U.S. president's visit.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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