Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa who steered Africans through the continent's tense transition from apartheid to democracy two decades ago, passed away Thursday (Nov. 5) after battling an ongoing infection in his lungs. He was 95 years old.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner became a universal symbol of reconcilement and empowerment despite being wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years.

"We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with," said President Obama at a press conference. "He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages. "His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings -- and countries -- can change for the better."

"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," he continued. "We will not see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. It falls to us to carry forward the example that he set."

Upon hearing the news of Mandela’s death, artists and celebrities began to mourn the loss of such an inspirational figure on Twitter.

Below is a roundup of thoughts and prayers sent to the former South African leader as he crosses over into the next realm.

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