One of the most beloved leaders of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.
Mandela, who inherited a country on the verge of civil war and torn apart by racial violence, will forever be remembered for bringing hope and reconciliation to South Africa. Controversial for much of his life, he ultimately became a beacon of optimism for people both at home and around the world.
The iconic leader — known for his charismatic personality, soft-yet-stirring speeches and charitable work post-politics — spent 27 years behind bars for opposing white rule in his country before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
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