Emotional Obama On Nelson Mandela: "Influential, Courageous, And Profoundly Good"

Nelson Mandela has passed away at the age of 95, South African President Jacob Zuma announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon. Mandela died peacefully at 8:30 p.m., having suffered from a respiratory infection that saw him hospitalized several times over the past year.

During his trip to Africa this past June, President Obama hailed the former President's impact on the country in his remarks to the South African people, calling him the "George Washington of Africa." In a special announcement Thursday evening, an emotional President Obama delivered remarks on Mandela.

"He set an example that all humanity should aspire to," Obama said. "The fact that he did it all with grace and humor and the ability to acknowledge his own imperfections makes him even more remarkable. He said: 'I'm not a saint, unless you count a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.'"

"The first thing I ever did that involved an issue, or policy, or politics, was a protest against apartheid," the president continued. "Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this great man with us.

"A free South Africa, at peace with itself: that's an example to the world, and that's Mandiba's legacy to the nation that he lived... We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with.

"It falls to us to follow, as best we can, the example that he set," Obama said. "To strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice. Let us pause and give thanks to the fact to Nelson Mandela lived."

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