What people are saying around the world after the passing of Nelson Mandela

Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

My fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has departed.

He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20.50 on December 5 2013.

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 that 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.

Ahmed Kathrada, who shared his prison sentence with Mandela on Robben Island

We have known each other for 67 years, and I never imagined I’d be witness to the unavoidable and traumatic reality of your passing.

I had the enviable privilege of being alive and walking the earth with you through the bad times and the good. It has been a long walk, with many challenges that at times seemed insurmountable. And yet we never faltered, and the strength of leaders like you and Walter (Sisulu, the ANC Secretary General) always shone a light on the path and kept our destination and our people’s future in view.

FW de Klerk, final President of apartheid-era South Africa (in an interview with the BBC)

We had our moments of tension ... but after our retirement and at times during our presidency we became very close. He was a remarkable man. His biggest legacy will be emphasis on reconciliation, his remarkable lack of bitterness. And he didn't only talk about reconciliation; he lived for reconciliation. He was a great unifier.

I think his greatest legacy as an imprint on the South African nation is that we are basically at peace with each other, notwithstanding our great diversity; that we will be shaking hands once again now around his death and around our common sadness and mourning. His greatest legacy was that he was a unifier and that he successfully built the bridge between the conflict of the past and the peace of today.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero. Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace. Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.

My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.

Barack Obama, President of the USA

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south, despite all the huge differences in wealth and opportunity, stood for the first time together on equal terms.

Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.

I worked with him closely, and remember well his visits to Downing Street. He was a wonderful man to be around, with a sharp wit, extraordinary political savvy and a lovely way of charming everyone in a building.

Bill Clinton, former President of the USA

History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation.

We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Graca and his family and to the people of South Africa.

All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived.