Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, an extraordinary moral authority who became South Africa's first black president and inspired the peaceful transfer of power in the harshly segregated nation, died Thursday at his home in Johannesburg. Mr. Mandela, 95, who devoted his life to fighting apartheid, became one of the 20th century's most revered leaders after he was released from nearly three decades in prison in 1990 and led the nation on a path to reconciliation rather than revolution.
He shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with F. W. de Klerk, the former South African president who negotiated the white government's abdication of power, resulting in Mr. Mandela's landslide 1994 election in the nation's first
all-race vote. Along with de Klerk, he was awarded the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia in 1993.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who announced Mr. Mandela's death on television, said: "We've lost our greatest son. 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."
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