Mandela's Daughters Learn of Father's Death Midway Through London Film Premiere

UPDATED 12/06/2013 at 11:55 AM EST Originally published 12/06/2013 at 10:00 AM EST

Nelson Mandela Dead: Leader's Daughters Learn of Loss During London Premiere
Zindzi Mandela (L) and Zenani Mandela (R) at London premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Dave J Hogan/Getty
In an emotional judgment call, two of Nelson Mandela's daughters decided that the London premiere of the Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom would continue, despite the former South African president's death Thursday at the age of 95.

Zenani and Zindzi Mandela attended the premiere and learned of their father's death during the screening. Though the pair left the Odeon Leicester Square theater, they asked that the film play to the end uninterrupted, according to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Zindzi Mandela had spoken about her father's health on the film's red carpet, saying that he was "fine."

"He's just a typical 95-year-old who is frail," she added.

Mandela's Daughters Learn of Father's Death Midway Through London Film Premiere| Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Idris Elba, Kate Middleton, Nelson Mandela, Prince William

Nelson Mandela, former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (2nd R) and their daughters Zindzi and Zenani at his 94th Birthday, July 18, 2012

Adrian Steirn / Getty

The film's audience, which included Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, learned of Mandela's death during the biopic's closing credits. Producer Anant Singh led a moment of silence in honor of the anti-apartheid leader.



"It was extremely sad and upsetting news," William told the press while leaving the theater. "We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

Actor Idris Elba, who portrayed Mandela in the film, echoed the sentiment.

"We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him," he told reporters.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.





RELATED VIDEO: Watch PEOPLE's Tribute to Nelson Mandela


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