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Statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

Statement by WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan
6 December 2013

With the death of Nelson Mandela the world has lost a great and visionary leader – a global hero for whom a democratic and free society was “an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die".

Mandela’s commitment to overcome prejudice and hate inspired not only his determination to break down barriers between different races, but also to eliminate discrimination against those living with HIV, calling on people to give publicity to HIV/AIDS and no longer to hide it.

His belief in the power of truth and reconciliation, his capacity for hope, his unflagging dignity, and his faith in his fellow human beings, were and will continue to be an example to us all. Our thoughts are with his family – and all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.