A great leader has died
– and within minutes, people who knew Nelson Mandela and many others, who only knew of his fight for freedom in South Africa and for people around the world, lit up social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to express their condolences and pay their respects.
Madela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.
"The founding President of our democratic nation has departed," the current President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, using Mandela's tribal name, said in an address to the nation
. "He passed on peacefully in the company of his family ... on the 5th of December 2013. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
Read on to see what others had to say about the loss of Mandela.