- South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed Mandela’s death in a TV address
- Mr Zuma said: 'Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father’
- President Obama said: 'I cannot fully imagine my life without the example that Nelson Mandela set'
- David Cameron said a 'great light has gone out in in the world'
- Had spent almost three months in hospital with a recurring lung infection
- He was discharged in September and had been receiving home-based medical attention since then
- The 20th century icon will be accorded a full state funeral
- In February 1990 Mandela was released from prison on Robben Island after serving 27 years
- He became South African President in 1994, a year after winning the Nobel Peace Prize
- The leader's daughters and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge learned of Mandela's death while attending the UK premier of a film about him
By LEON WATSON
Nelson Mandela has died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa aged 95.
The icon of the struggle against apartheid died at 12:50pm UK time yesterday surrounded by close family.
Mandela's death came nearly five months after he was admitted to hospital with a lung infection.
Despite being allowed to return home three months ago, South Africa's first black president has not been able to move from a bedroom described as being a 'virtual 24 hour intensive care unit' and has needed a ventilator to breath.
In a televised address, South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed Nelson Mandela has died aged 95
Just before his death: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they arrived Thursday night to the UK premier of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom just before the film's inspiration and subject died at 95
'I cannot fully imagine my life without the example that Nelson Mandela set,' said President Obama at a news conference. The White House said the US president will travel to South Africa to attend Mandela's fuenral
Ominous timing: Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, greets Zindzi Mandela, right, and her sister Zenani, the daughters of former Nelson Mandela at the UK premier. The sisters reportedly only learned of their father's death as they watched the movie about his life
Rumors of Mr Mandela's increasing discomfort started circulating in the early afternoon of yesterday as increasing numbers of Mandela family members arrived at the former president's large Johannesburg home.
South Africa's president Jacob Zuma announced the long-expected death in a special television broadcast last night.
Mr Zuma said: 'Our nation has lost its greatest son.'
'What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.
'Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.'
The White House said tonight that the president is expected to travel to South Africa for Mandela's state funeral along with other world leaders.
'He achieved more than could be expected for any man and today he's gone home,’ Obama said at a news conference. 'Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us- his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that humans can transform for the better.'
UK Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to Mandela in that country.
'Nelson Mandela showed us the true meaning of courage, hope, and reconciliation,' Cameron said. 'My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.'
Although the increasingly frail statesman had been in an out of hospital over the past five years, he was last rushed to hospital on June 8th this year.
He was initially treated for a lung infection, but with three weeks his condition, it was announced, had turned 'critical'.
The South African government has never disclosed the full extent of his illness, but reputable news sources revealed that his liver and kidneys were functioning at just 50 per cent.
South African media reported that he was on ventilation and undergoing regular renal dialysis.
Nelson Mandela was one of the world's most admired and beloved political leaders, an icon of the redemptive power of reconciliation.
The former lawyer spent 27 years in apartheid prisons for his political beliefs before becoming South Africa's first black president.
His critical role in both achieving full democracy in South Africa and then keeping the peace when it arrived in 1994 earned him a Nobel Peace Prize.
But it was the magnanimity he showed his former oppressors - coupled with an intense personal charm - that has earned him admirers all over the globe.
Here UK Prime Minister David Cameron, meets with Mandela in 2006 in Johannesburg. Cameron led the UK tributes to the South African leader Thursday. 'Nelson Mandela showed us the true meaning of courage, hope, and reconciliation,' said the PM
In this 2011 meeting, the first daughters Malia (left) and Sasha (right) join their mother Michelle Obama for a meeting with Mandela
Unforgettable pose: Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Mandela 2008, as the South African leader shoots his famously endearing grin
Sad day: (L to R) Tony Kgoroge, Naomie Harris, Zindzi Mandela, her sister Zenani, and Idris Elba pose for photographers at the UK Premiere of 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' in London. The sisters reportedly learned of their father's death while watching the film
Mandela was himself uneasy with the idea of being an icon and he did not escape criticism as an individual and a politician, though much of it was muted by his status as a unassailable symbol of decency and principle
Remarkable: His death closed the final chapter in South Africa's struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor
Historic: As South Africa's first black president, the ex-boxer, lawyer and prisoner No. 46664 paved the way to racial reconciliation with well-chosen gestures of forgiveness
Nation's greatest son: Nelson Mandela lifts the World Cup trophy in Zurich, Switzerland, after FIFA's executive committee announced that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. South Africa's 'Greatest Son' died Thursday at 95
Zindzi Mandela the daughter of Nelson Mandela poses for photographers as she arrives to attend the UK premiere of her father's biopic. Reports at the time of his death said his daughter only learned the news while in the theater
An honor: 'It's something that makes me feel really proud that what my family went through and the role my father played has been recognised,' Zindzi said of the film and of meeting the Duke and Duchess
Nelson Mandela, former South African President, is pictured during a visit by former U.S. president Bill Clinton on July 17, 2012 at his home in Qunu, Eastern Cape, on the eve of his 94th birthday
PARTING WORDS TO AN HISTORIC LEADER: SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA'S GOODBYE SPEECH TO NELSON MANDELA
Inspiration: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, South Africa, last year
Former South African president and ex-leader of African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela with American talkshow host Oprah Winfrey in 2005
A huge state funeral, attended by most world leaders, is expected to be held in the coming days.
Having served just one term as president of South Africa, Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has only rarely been glimpsed in public since then.
His last public appearance was at football's 2010 World Cup final when his wife had to support his arm to allow him to wave to the crowd.
The former South African president with award winning actress, Charlize Theron, in South Africa in 2003 after she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the movie Monster
Famous friends: British supermodel Naomi Campbell and Nelson Mandela at a Othandweni orphanage in Hillbrow, South Africa, in 2001
Fighting fit: Mandela was tall and slim and enjoyed jogging long before it was trendy
As well as receiving treatment for prostate cancer, stomach pain and problems with his eyes, Mandela's most persistent medical problems have been respiratory.
He damaged his lungs and contracted tuberculosis while digging in a lime quarry during the 18 years he spent imprisoned on the notorious Robben Island, outside Cape Town.
He has been admitted to hospital numerous times over past decade - and five times since December last year.
He underwent treatment for, among other things, a respiratory disorder, a 'long-standing abdominal complaint', gallstones and, in April this year, for the removal of fluid from his lungs.
Such is Mandela's popularity in South Africa - where he is lionised for his role in healing the country's racial divides - that many public figures have tried to attach themselves to the former African National Congress (ANC) leader's legacy.
Jacob Zuma's decision, last April, to allow himself to be filmed standing next to an unsmiling, expressionless Mandela in hospital drew much adverse comment, including from Mr Mandela's family.
The ANC's main political opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has also been accused of trying to 'hijack' his legacy by highlighting its historical connection to the man most South African refer to by his clan name Madiba.
QUOTES FROM A GREAT MAN: UNFORGETTABLE WORDS SPOKEN BY NELSON MANDELA THAT HELPED TO SHAPE THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD
Widely adored: A 1997 meeting of Mandela and Prime Minister Tony Blair at St Andrews
Family man: He is survived by second wife Machel (right), his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second
Men of dignity: Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama in Cape Town in 1996
Royal welcome: The Queen sits with South African President Nelson Mandela at a state banquet held in the Queen's honour in Cape Town in March 1995 - the first state visit to the country in almost 50 years
Proud: Mandela always wanted to be seen as a man of the people and his 'big tent' approach to reaching out to the common man was widely adored
While some political commentators have expressed a fear that Mandela's death could destabilise South Africa by re-opening racial wounds, most South Africans are well used to the idea of his passing.
Indeed, most serious political analysts in the country recognise that Mr Mandela's death is unlikely to create a political shockwave.
More significant, they say, may be the fact that without Mandela's immense moral authority, the ruling ANC party may be more vulnerable to charges of corruption and incompetence.
Mandela, who is generally considered to be 'the father' of modern South Africa, has said that his greatest regret has been his failure to have raised his own children.
He married three times. Two wives remain alive: his ex wife Winnie and Graca Machel. He has three remaining children, another four step children, 17 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
In recent years various family members and friends have argued about how best to maintain his legacy. The disputes are now likely to worsen.
His marriage to Winnie had fallen apart after his release and he was now married to Graca Machel, the widowed former first lady of neighboring Mozambique.
He is survived by Machel; his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second.
THE ANTI-APARTHEID FIGHTER WHO WENT TO PRISON FOR THE CAUSE