Nelson Mandela, whose successful struggle against South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation and discrimination made him a global symbol for the cause of human rights and earned him the Nobel Prize, died Thursday. He was 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's death at a news conference, saying, "We've lost our greatest son." Mandela had been in failing health for months.
Mandela spent 27 years in South African prisons before his release in 1990. He negotiated with the nation's
white leaders toward establishing democracy and was elected South Africa's first black president in 1994, serving one term.
"He probably will be remembered both inside and outside South Africa as a political saint," said Michael
Parks, the former editor of the Los Angeles Times who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his coverage of
Mandela and South Africa's struggles.
"He had flaws that he had to overcome. He had a temper he had to deal with. He had to deal with what
was going to be life imprisonment. Not all his decisions were great decisions, but what political leader's are?" Parks said.