Nelson Mandela Dies and the Whole World Weeps

This story has been updated with President Obama's press conference tribute to Mandela.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died at age 95. Jacob Zuma, the current South African President, broke the news during a press conference.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family," he said, according to published media reports.


A tribute to Mandela appeared on the Web site of the South African presidency.

The country's first black president died at his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. Family members had been gathering at the home in recent days. Mandela had been receiving treatment for a lung infection, according to published media reports.

After spending 27 years in prison during the country's apartheid era, Mandela was released in 1990 and then elected president four years following the country's first multiracial and democratic election. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

President Barack Obama paid tribute to Mandela during a White House press conference shortly after the news broke. "He achieved more than could be expected of any man," Obama said. "We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth."

"His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better," Obama added. "I am one of the countless millions that drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life."

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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