Factbox: Reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela

Fri Dec 6, 2013 6:41am EST
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(Reuters) - Reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid hero and first black president, on Thursday at age 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma: "Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity earned him their love."

U.S. President Barack Obama: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man. ... Today he's gone home, and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth."

British Prime Minister David Cameron: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time."

Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus and anti-apartheid activist: "Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless ... Instead of calling for his pound of flesh, he proclaimed the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, inspiring others by his example to extraordinary acts of nobility of spirit."

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, on CNN: "He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration. Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity."

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: "The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world's leading democracies."

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush: "As president, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment - setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all. He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country."   Continued...

Former South African President Nelson Mandela speaks after being conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University of Galway in this June 20, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Paul McErlane/Files