“RIP Nelson Mandela. The world has lost an apostle of peace & non-violence who redefined the journey of his nation for the good of humankind,” Modi wrote on twitter.

“Many of us are not fortunate to see Gandhi ji alive. We are blessed to see the life of Nelson Mandela, who embodied his values & ideals,” he said.

Nelson Mandela passes away

“My heartfelt condolences to Nelson Mandela's family & the people of South Africa. We stand by them in this hour of grief,” Modi said on the micro-blogging site.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan echoing similar sentiments said the world will never forget Nelson Mandela and his thoughts and teachings will live with us forever.

“It is a sad day for humanity today. World will never forget Nelson Mandela and his thoughts & teachings will live with us forever. Prayers,” he tweeted.

Mandela passed away peacefully at 20:50 (local time) on December 5.

Mandela would receive a full state funeral and flags would be flown at half-mast until the state funeral.

Madiba, as Mandela was fondly known, had been battling health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

Friends and relatives of the statesman had gathered at his Johannesburg home where "democratic South Africa's founding father" was said to be on his "deathbed".

Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid before becoming the country's first black leader, had faced several health scares.

His most recent hospital stay spanning over three months was his longest since he walked free in 1990. Mandela is widely respected for his role in fighting racism in South Africa, and for forgiving his former white captors after his release from prison.

(JPN)

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