In his decades spent fighting for freedom and equality, Nelson Mandela inspired and challenged the world to stand up for others. As word of Mandela's death spread, current and former presidents, athletes and entertainers, and people around the world spoke out about the life and legacy of the former South African leader.
The death Thursday of South Africa's liberation leader and first democratic president Nelson Mandela triggered an unprecedented worldwide chorus of awed respect. he belongs to the ages," US President Barack Obama said, in a deliberate echo of an early tribute paid to Abraham Lincoln, the American leader who emancipated the slaves. Over and over, leaders returned to the dignity Mandela displayed during his long imprisonment by South Africa's former racist regime and then later, when he led his country to majority rule. "We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again," said Obama, America's first black president, citing Mandela's release from prison as one of his own early political inspirations.