Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Qunu, South Africa, on July 18, 1918, and Nelson Mandela dead 95 years later was buried there, on December 5, 2013. The South African hero filled the years between with service to others, unending dedication to racial equality, and a life that has inspired hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.
After months out of public sight, people asked, “Is Nelson Mandela dead?” Upon learning of his critical illness, they speculated, “What will we do when Nelson Mandela dies?” Then, the announcement came, answering affirmatively to questions asking, “Did Nelson Mandela die?”
When, at home surrounded by family, including ex-wife Winnie, he succumbed to a respiratory infection that he had battled for months, Nelson Mandela’s death date made news around the world. Headlines globally exclaimed, “Nelson Mandela Dies in Johannesburg”, “Nelson Mandela Dead at 95″, and “World Mourns Nelson Mandela’s Death”, inspiring incredulous inquiries whether news of Nelson Mandela’s death was true and worried wondering about the impact of this loss upon the world.
News of his death extended out of this world, too, reaching the International Space Station. A couple days before Mandela’s funeral, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio tweeted, “From the ISS we say goodbye to Nelson Mandela”, along with an image of Cape Town taken from more than 250 miles up by the International Space Station. News of his death reached around the world to Trinidad and Tobago. The islands’ government announced that a day early in 2014 would be declared Mandela Day in honor of the death of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and in celebration of his life.