Mandela had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. He led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after having spent 27 years in prison, BBC reported.
In a statement on South African national TV, Zuma said Mandela had “departed” and was at peace. “Our nation has lost its greatest son.”
Mandela would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast, the president added.
According to BBC, Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner was one of the world’s most revered statesmen. He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Zuma said. “Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”