Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 due to a series of health issues and a recurring lung infection. Mandela has been in declining health and family and friends have been gathering at his death bed since Wednesday night in order to say farewell to the father of the modern South Africa. Current President of South Africa Jacob Zuma announced on Thursday that Mandela had passed away. "He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father," Zuma said.  

Zuma ordered that all flags fly at half-staff and CNN is reporting Mandela will have a state funeral. The flags will remain at half-staff until Mandela's funeral, which has not yet been announced. Mandela, a one term president and South Africa's first black Commander in Chief used his intelligence and ability to tolerate his enemies to help lead South Africa out of a period of racial apartheid. When Mandela first became interested in politics as South Africa was entering the period of apartheid he adopted an attitude of nonviolence.

As the struggle to end racial dominance in South Africa grew Mandela began to shift his nonviolent views and turned to extreme acts when he felt the situation warranted such a decision. Mandela was implicated in a bombing campaign that was said to have been planned by the militant group he founded. Mandela has remained a prominent international figure and he is best known for the 27 years he spent as a political prisoner. When Mandela was released from what would have been a life sentence in 1990 he once again joined the anti-apartheid cause.

In 1994, Mandela became the first president of what was considered a democratic South Africa. Mandela stepped down as president in 1999 saying he was "an old man who wants to go into eternity with a smile on his face." Mandela would not retire from public life until 2004. He became an international mediator in the hopes to negotiate peace talks in war torn countries. Mandela was also staunch in his support to find a cure for AIDS. In 2003 he established 46664 a global HIV/AIDS campaign that was named after his prisoner number.

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