Stars and political leaders have rushed to pay tribute to South African rights activist Nelson Mandela after he passed last night.
The South African activist and former President died aged 95 at his home in Joburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.
Mandela was for millions a symbol of hope and freedom for his battle to overcome apartheid in South Africa and win equal rights for black people, which saw him jailed between 1962 and 1990.
Just hours before his passing a Royal Premiere was held in London for the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based on Mandela’s 1994 autobiography, starring Idris Elba as the political figure.
Speaking at the event, Idris told ITV news: “I think he means freedom and forgiveness. I think Mandela’s legacy for me is forgiveness.”
His co-star Naomie Harris, who portrays Nelson’s wife, Winnie Mandela, added: “He is an incredible individual who, despite having 27 years of his life taken away, still has compassion, understanding and forgiveness when he came out of prison. That’s just extraordinary. It is healing for South Africa and the world as well.”
Current South African president Jacob Zuma broke the news of Mandela’s death, saying: “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
Many people were then moved to pay tribute to the political icon.
Simon Cowell tweeted: “So sad to hear about Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace.”
Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie wrote: “Meeting Nelson Mandela at his house in Johannesburg was a truly memorable moment in life for me. He was an angel.”
Actor Samuel L. Jackson said: “Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family & his country.”
Political leaders were also quick to offer their sympathies, with UK Prime Minister David Cameron saying: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”
US President Barack Obama gave a TV address, where he said Nelson had “achieved more than could be expected of any man.”
He continued: “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with.
“I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela.”