Obama mourns death of icon Nelson Mandela

Obama mourns death of icon Nelson Mandela

Credit: 2013 Getty Images

US President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement about the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela in the briefing room of the White House on December 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama described Mandela, who died at 95, as 'influential, courageous and profoundly good.' AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images


by Associated Press


Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:05 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and ‘profoundly good’ man with the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Obama says Mandela “no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.” Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

Obama met with Mandela’s family earlier this year when he visited South Africa. But he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalized throughout the U.S. president’s visit.

Some local politicans also offered statements following Mandela's death.

Congressman Pittenger:

“Today, the world lost one of our greatest champions for freedom.  Nelson Mandela’s dignity, decency, and acts of forgiveness in the face of unspeakable oppression helped topple apartheid and heal a deeply divided nation.

“As we reflect on the life and legacy of President Mandela, I can’t help but think of the Congressional hearing I participated in earlier today, where I listened to five young women share heartbreaking stories about their fathers, currently imprisoned in China for promoting democracy, human rights, and freedom of religion.

“Sadly, the fight for freedom and justice is not yet over, and many of our neighbors around the world remain oppressed.  Let us pray for a new generation of Nelson Mandelas to continue the fight.”

Senator Burr:

“Nelson Mandela's compassion and humility in the face of overwhelming adversity remains an inspiration. The people of South Africa will forever be in debt for his role in ending apartheid, and the rest of the world inspired by his leading a divided nation into a new, prosperous era. Today, we all mourn his passing, but take comfort in the enduring lessons of his life that will live forever."

Gov. Haley:

“There are no words to describe the impact Nelson Mandela had not just on his country but on the world. May we all continue to learn from his courage, his grace, and his incomparable strength.”