The great South African leader and defender of equality Nelson Mandela has died at 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced the sad news:
"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20.50pm on the fifth of December 2013,” Zuma said. "He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day would come nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude. They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free…"
The world has lost one of its bravest souls and greatest champions of freedom. May his legacy continue to inspire new generations.
The Human Rights Campaign mourned Mandela's passing:
“Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed."
Mandela, who was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president, was an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly-gay judge to South Africa's High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism and commitment to equality for all people.