Former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela has died at age 95.
ABC News reports South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mandela's death, saying in a statement "We've lost our greatest son."
Mandela was a political prisoner for 27 years during South Africa's racially oppressive apartheid system of government, then became the central figure in dismantling that regime.
As the Mail & Guardian reports, Mandela had been hospitalized repeatedly with lung infections and had not made a public appearance in more than three years.
CNN says after his release from prison Mandela became a moral compass for a nation healing from the scars of apartheid.
National Public Radio reports President Obama paid tribute to Mandela, saying "His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better."
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also among those who issued statements on Mandela. "With courage and compassion, even in the face of adversity and injustice, he not only changed his beloved South Africa, he transformed the world," Klobuchar writes.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum called Mandela an inspiration to a global generation committed to abolishing apartheid and says his death is "truly a loss for the human race."
South Africa's President Zuma says a state funeral will be held. President Obama ordered that American flags be flown at half-staff through Monday.