Nelson Mandela, a lasting force for freedom, dies ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Chris Jackson/Getty Images Former South African President Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 in the company of his family, President Jacob Zuma announced. JEAN-MARC BOUJU/Associated Press/File 1999 Mandela had been hospitalized earlier this year due to a lung infection. STR/AFP/Getty Images/File 1961 Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for fighting apartheid in South Africa. Carolyn Kaster/AP President Barack Obama paused as he spoke about Mandela's death. "He belongs to the ages," the US president said. SUZANNE PLUNKETT/Reuters Lungi Morrison, the granddaughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sang after lighting a candle for Mandela in London. BARBARA KINNEY/AFP/Getty Images/File 2012 Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1944 after "a steady accumulation of a thousand slights" produced in him a desire to fight apartheid. Juda Ngwenya/Reuters/file 1993 He was a corecipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and was elected president of South Africa in 1994. Kevin Carter/Reuters/file 1994 Zuma said a state funeral will be held. "This is the moment of our deepest sorrow," he said. SUZANNE PLUNKETT/Reuters Two people sang at a gathering in memory of Mandela outside the South African High Commission in London. SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters A man held candles in front of a mural of Mandela and Obama in New York. David Brauchli/Associated Press/File 1993 He was never willing to bend on his fundamental aim of abolishing apartheid and making South Africa a multiracial society. John Parkin/Associated Press/File 1993 After the government banned the ANC in 1960, he disavowed his commitment to nonviolence and organized the group's military arm. Adil Bradlow/associated press/file On Feb. 11, 1990, he became a free man. He is pictured giving the black power salute the day after his release. Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File 1990 Mandela then enjoyed a triumphal tour of seven US cities, including Boston. Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File 1990 At the Kennedy Library in Boston, he joked that "right now, I consider myself an honorary Irishman from Soweto." Joshua Roberts/AFP/file 1994 Mandela had called on the US to take the opportunity offered by the end of the Cold War to promote democracy, peace, and prosperity. Remy de la Mauviniere/Associated Press/File 1992 His predecessor and fellow Nobel recipient, F. W. de Klerk (right), served as Mandela's deputy president. Lise Aaserud/Associated Press/File 1993 "It was as if God had taken a hand — a new turn in world history," de Klerk confided to his brother of Mandela's release. Patrick de Noirmont/Reuters/file 1993 As president of South Africa, he struck an often-uneasy balance between transforming society while striving not to disaffect its Afrikaner population. DAVID BRAUCHLI/Associated Press/File 1993 An example of this balancing act was the government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Peter Andrews/Reuters/File 1994 The commission’s dedication to both investigation and forgiveness epitomized Mandela’s presidency. Guy Tillim/AFP/File 1994 A Vatican ambassador approached Mandela to present his credentials at the president's office in Cape Town. ANDREW BUURMAN/Associated Press/File 1996 Mandela kissed the hand of an unidentified girl during a stroll in a London park. Joe Tabacca for The Boston Globe/File 2005 He received an honorary degree from Amherst College.