Nelson Mandela has died - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Nelson Mandela has died

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(RNN) – Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died.

"Our nation has lost his greatest son," South African President Jacob Zuma said in a press conference on Thursday.

Mandela was the first black president of South Africa and the first to win a fully free democratic election in the country. He served a single term from 1994 through 1999 and then retired from public life.

In June, his health took a turn for the worse and he was listed in critical condition. After spending 12 weeks in the hospital, Mandela was released to go home to continue receiving treatment. 

Mandela was hospitalized a handful of times between 2012 and 2013 for recurring lung infections that continually worsened.

He has dealt with the infections since he contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned for his role in rebelling against South Africa's racist system of apartheid.

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