Civil rights leader Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.

According to NBC News, the South African legend, who was the nation’s first black president, died in his home after several years of declining health.

Mandela became widely known for his efforts in ending apartheid, spending more than 25 years in prison on the road to democracy.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion,” he wrote in “Long Walk to Freedom” (via NBC).

Mandela continued to write throughout his imprisonment, and despite the fact that he was only allowed one visitor a year and a letter twice annually, he was able to make great strides.

Along with his efforts in fighting for racial equality, he was also greatly concerned with helping prevent AIDS, which continues to ravage the nation to this day.

The activist and politician left the spotlight behind in 2004, choosing instead to spend time with family near his childhood home.

Our thoughts are with Nelson Mandela’s family and friends at this time.

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