TODAY   |  December 06, 2013

World mourns death of Nelson Mandela

The influential anti-apartheid revolutionary turned president, who died Thursday at age 95, is being mourned all around the world, from his village in South Africa to the offices of the White House. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> let's get right to richard engle. he's in johannesburg this morning. richard , good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, we are front mandela 's home. he died here last night. since then, several hundred people have been holding vigils and dancing and celebrating the life of the man whose compassion and forgiveness helped rebuild this country after apartheid. across south africa , flags at half staff, tears and prayers for the father of this nation, nelson mandela that died at age 95 in his home in johannesburg. but also celebrations for the life of a man that gave up his personal liberty and became one of the great leaders of our time. last night, the announcement came.

>> our nation has lost it's greatest son. his humility, his compassion, and his humanity and love.

>> reporter: the world held it's breath for a moment but then the tributes poured in.

>> he let us understand we can change the world .

>> he certainly had an impact on my life.

>> reporter: president obama paid omage to a civil rights icon.

>> let's pause and give thanks for the fact that nelson mandela lived. a man that took history in his hands and bent the mark of the moral universe toward justice.

>> queen elizabeth said his legacy is the peaceful south africa we see today. a film premiere in london attended by the royal couple and two of mandela 's daughters celebrated the movie of his life, long walk to freedom. his death was announced as the credits rolled. extremely tragic news. we are just reminded what an extraordinary man he was.

>> reporter: he will have a state funeral but it was his leading by example that helped so many.

>> we lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings any of us will spend time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages.

>> reporter: the mourning period is expected to last ten days with mandela 's body lying in state and foreign leaders coming to pay their respects.

>> richard , thanks so much.