Nelson Mandela, a colossus of the 20th century, emerged from 27 years in prison to topple apartheid with iron discipline, hardheaded realism and a common touch that endeared him to whites who had been conditioned to regard him as their bitter enemy.
His death closes the final chapter in Africa's struggle to cast off white rule, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday, Hollywood stars glorified him on screen, and his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.
Former President George W. Bush is paying tribute to Mandela.
In a statement issued by his Dallas office, Bush said:
"Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.
"This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela's family and to the citizens of the nation he loved."
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