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The Passing of a South African Icon Whose Admirers Included Showbiz And Political Figures

Written by Chief Editor.

In 2008, a benefit at the Dorchester Hotel raised £5 million for Nelson Mandela's charities. Elton was among those in attendance, serenading the former South African leader with 'Happy Birthday,' as Mandela was turning 90 that week.

 

Other guests included Forest Whitaker, Leona Lewis, Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Orah Winfrey, Bob Geldof, Cherie Blair and Richard Branson.

 In later years, Mandela had been in frail health. He died yesterday at the age of 95.
 
 Upon hearing the news, some residents sang and danced outside the Soweto home where the Nobel Prize winner once lived. From today until after a state funeral, national flags are to be lowered to half-mast until after a state funeral.

In Washington, President Obama called him one of the "most influential, courageous and profoundly good" people to ever have lived. He ordered U.S. flags to be lowered immediately to half staff until Monday evening in tribute.

Mandela had been receiving medical care at home in past months, where he had been in critical condition. He was fighting a recurring lung infection, and had a history of such problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner.