Nelson Mandela Dead: Former South African President Has Died At 95 Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town, Sunday, February 11, 1990. Nelson Mandela has died today at the age of 95, according to South African President Jacob Zuma. His death marks the final chapter in a life that changed South Africa forever. The former South African president had been suffering from a recurring lung infection, and the Daily Telegraph reports that his friends and family had gathered at his bed today. Zuma announced his death in a televised address to the nation. "Our nation has lost its greatest son, yet what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human," Zuma said. "We saw in him what we seek in ourselves, and in him we saw so much of ourselves." Mandela's struggle was one of the defining stories of the 20th century. Trained as a lawyer, he became involved in politics after 1948 as South Africa moved into a system of racial apartheid. While initially espousing non-violent protests with the African National Congress (ANC), he eventually founded a militant organization and was behind a bombing campaign in the early 1960s. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1962. Initially imprisoned in a 8 feet by 7 feet concrete cell with only a straw mat on which to sleep, Mandela's imprisonment soon became an international cause. He was eventually released on 2 February 1990 after intervention by President F. W. de Klerk. Mandela became president of the ANC in 1991, and was elected president of South Africa in May 1994, a position in which he remained until 1999. During his time in office he led the dismantling of the apartheid system, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela is survived by his wife, Graça Machel, six children, and 17 grandchildren. Mandela had been sick for a long time. Earlier this year, South Africa's Sunday Times ran a story on Mandela's illness under the headline "It's time to let him go." Read more: Nelson Mandela Dead: South African Former President Dies - Business Insider 1918 Born in the Eastern Cape 1943 Joined African National Congress 1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped after a four-year trial 1962 Arrested, convicted of incitement and leaving country without a passport, sentenced to five years in prison 1964 Charged with sabotage, sentenced to life 1990 Freed from prison 1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize 1994 Elected first black president 1999 Steps down as leader 2001 Diagnosed with prostate cancer 2004 Retires from public life 2005 Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness "Our nation has lost its greatest son," Mr Zuma said. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world's most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years. He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. "What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves," Mr Zuma said. "Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell." Earlier, the BBC's Mike Wooldridge, outside Mr Mandela's home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, said there appeared to have been an unusually large family gathering. Among those attending was family elder Bantu Holomisa, A number of government vehicles were there during the evening as well, our correspondent says. Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela's condition as critical but stable. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa's first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A great man and a great loss A real freedom fighter, who didnt use violance like the oppressors he fought, to get the freedom he's people deserved. Another star falls May he rest in peace, he was one of those great leaders that the world barely witnesses. "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his/her skin, background, or even his/her religion. People learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposites" "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world " Nelson Mandela (July 18, 1918 - December 5 2013) Two of the most greatest saying that I held in my heart RIP to a man who courageously fought the occupation/apartheid of his nation. Thank you, Mr. Mandela. Thank you for everything. May Allah(swt) Grant you highest place in Heaven for what you did on Earth.