Skip to main content
In Brief

Nelson Mandela, Famed Rights Activist & Nobel Laureate, Dies at 95

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela (Image credit: Video Screengrab/YouTube/sabcdigitalnews)

Nelson Mandela, the South African leader who led the struggle against segregation and apartheid, has died today (Dec. 5) at age 95, South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, said today, according to news reports.

As South Africa's first black president, Mandela negotiated a peaceful transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, along with previous president F. W. de Klerk. The two worked together to end the racist system of apartheid. Before his presidency, Mandela served 27 years in prison on Robben Island after being convicted of treason for his role in bombings and violent protests aimed against apartheid.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son," South African president Jacob Zuma said on South African national TV, the BBC reported. Mandela had been receiving medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in the hospital.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+

Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.