|File photo taken on Feb. 3, 2005, shows former South African President Nelson Mandela waves to audience of his speech on Trafagar Square in London,Britain. Nelson Mandela has died, according to South African President. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)|
JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced.
"He is now resting. He is now at peace," South African President Zuma said, "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
Mandela, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, had battled health problems in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.
Mandela was released from hospital in early September following an 85-day stay for a recurring lung infection, the result of his longtime imprisonment during the apartheid times.
Video: Faces of Africa 07/02/2012 Finding Mandela (Part 1/ Part 2/ Part 3)
Profile: South Africa's ex-president, anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela
Dubbed as "tata" or "father" in his country, Mandela, who had spent 27 years in prison, was widely regarded as an anti-apartheid activist and South Africa's first black president after more than three centuries of white rule.
UN mourns passing of Nelson Mandela
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Thursday mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela and gave his "deepest condolence" to the family of Mandela and the people of South Africa and Africa as a whole.
S.African gov't announces state funeral for Mandela
President Jacob Zuma said in a statement "Our beloved Mandela will be accorded a state funeral."
On Thursday evening, Zuma announced that Mandela passed away peacefully around 20:50 p.m. local time on Dec. 5
"Flags around the country will be flown at half-mast from Friday until after the funeral as we gather to pay our last respects," said the president.
Obama says Mandela "achieves more than could be expected of any man"
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, saying the former South African president has achieved more than "could be expected of any man."
In a televised speech made at the White House, Obama hailed Mandela as a man who has made real his ideal of "a democratic and free society" in which all live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.