Vice President Joe Biden: "Nelson Mandela once said, 'A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.' Mandela's wisdom and compassion were formidable enough to change the world. First his courage and then his forgiveness inspired us all, and challenged us to do better. In the words of the South African poet Peter Horn, he 'dreamed the world another way.' I saw his world the way it used to be when I visited South Africa as a 34 year old Senator. When I exited the plane I was directed to one side of the tarmac, while the African American congressmen traveling with me were sent to the other side. I refused to break off, and the officials finally relented. When I tried to enter Soweto township with Congressmen Andrew Young of Atlanta and Charles Diggs of Detroit, I remember their tears of anger and sadness. Because of Nelson Mandela's courage, and compassion, that world has been transformed. One of my favorite Irish poets, Seamus Heaney once wrote: 'History says, don't hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up, and hope and history rhyme." In the hands of Nelson Mandela, hope and history rhymed. This is a better world because Nelson Mandela was in it. He was a good man."
Morgan Freeman: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve---a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."
Prince William: Mr Mandela was the embodiment of courage and reconciliation. He was also a man of great humour and had a real zest for life. With his passing, there will be an immense void not only in his family's lives, but also in those of all South Africans and the many others whose lives have been changed through his fight for peace, justice and freedom. The world has lost an inspired leader and a great man. My family and I are profoundly saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Dennis Haysbert: "Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film "Goodbye Bafana" was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again… ever.
I will always honor him as a saint."
Idris Elba: "What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Dionne Warwick: "Having known him for many years and privileged to serve as one of his Ambassadors, it is with great respect that I send my heartfelt condolence to his family and South Africa!! He amazingly lived what I was taught as a child and that being, We Human Beings have truly been put on this earth to be of service to one another and through this comes the Joy, Peace, and Harmony we ALL desire. Rest in Peace Madiba"
Bill Clinton: "Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. And Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend.
History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Graça and his family and to the people of South Africa. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived. He proved that there is freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind, and that life’s real victories must be shared."
Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I will never forget the time I spent with President Mandela.
Even before I met him, he was one of my heroes. But during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in South Africa, I had the opportunity to stand with him in his former jail cell at Robben Island to light the torch, and his legend grew before my eyes.
He told me about his struggles, his time in captivity, his persecution and oppression. Most people would have had nothing in their heart but revenge, but all President Mandela had was forgiveness. He is the definition of serving a cause greater than self. He singlehandedly reunited his nation, because he had a vision of the future that should inspire all of us.
President Mandela's life is the closest thing we have to proof of God. I will never be able to thank him enough for his inspiration. Today, each of us should commit to do at least one small thing to improve the planet in his honor. Give back. Help someone. Change the world.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa."
Paul Simon: "Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."
One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him http://t.co/IfZKtgvlU8
Mandela, whose health had waned in recent years, is survived by his wife, Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and three daughters, Pumla Makaziwe, Zenani and Zindziswa Mandela. He was 95.