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Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela's family and to the citizens of the nation he loved.
Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. And Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend.
History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Graça and his family and to the people of South Africa. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived. He proved that there is freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind, and that life’s real victories must be shared.
Madiba's 'long walk to freedom' gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. Now that his long walk has ended, the example he set for all humanity lives on. He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace.
There are some truly brave people in this world whom you meet and you're forever changed for the experience. We had the honor of sitting with Mandela over the Thanksgiving holidays of 2007. I was struck by how warm, open, and serene he was. I stood in his tiny cell on Robben Island, a room with barely enough space to lie down or stand up, and I learned that the glare of the white rock quarry permanently damaged his eyesight. It hit home even more just how remarkable it was that after spending 27 years locked away, after having his own vision impaired by the conditions, that this man could still see the best interests of his country and even embrace the very guards who kept him prisoner. That is the story of a man whose ability to see resided not in his eyes but in his conscience. It is hard to imagine any of us could summon such strength of character.
Nelson Mandela was a stranger to hate. He gave everything he had to heal his country and lead it back into the community of nations, including insisting on relinquishing his office and ensuring there would be a peaceful transfer of power. Today, people all around the world who yearn for democracy look to Mandela's nation and its democratic Constitution as a hopeful example of what is possible.
The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader.
He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid.
When that fight was won, he inspired us again by his capacity to forgive and reconcile his country.
While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he has inspired countless men and women throughout the world to live more courageous and honest lives.
On behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian community, I extend my condolences to Mr Mandela’s family and to the people of South Africa.
Today, we have lost one of history's great leaders. I extend my deepest condolences to the Mandela family and to the government and people of South Africa, the Republic that President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela helped free from the cruelty and hatred of apartheid and forged anew into a rainbow nation of hope and healing. I will always cherish the honor and memory of knowing him.
Even as we mourn, we remember how privileged the world was to witness the transformation he wrought by changing minds and hearts. He was apartheid's captive but never its prisoner, and he rid the world of one of history's foulest evils by hewing to universal principles for which he hoped to live but was prepared to die. Let us celebrate Madiba's life by rededicating ourselves to the values and hopes he embodied: reconciliation and justice, freedom and equality, democracy and human rights, an honest reckoning with the past and an unflinching insistence on embracing our common humanity. Let us strive to follow in his noble path-to stretch out the hand of fellowship and forgiveness across the deepest of gulfs, to find peaceful ways to resolve the bitterest of conflicts, and to insist on the revolutionary power of empathy, persuasion, perseverance, and human dignity.
President Nelson Mandela is gone, but his legacy and example will forever endure. May they continue to inspire South Africa and all humanity for generations to come. He was one of the greatest human beings of our time. Farewell, Madiba - and thank you.
The New Zealand flag is lowered to half mast in memory of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela during day five of the first international cricket Test match between New Zealand and the West Indies at the University Oval in Dunedin on December 6, 2013. Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images