Former South African president and human rights champion Nelson Mandela is dead at the age of 95. 

South African president Jacob Zuma made the announcement in a statement to his people today.  He said the country will mourn the passing of one of the country's heroes.  Zuma said the flags of his country will be at half staff until a state funeral is held. 

Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after leading an anti-apartheid movement.  He served more than 20 years in prison in his efforts against apartheid. 

He had been in failing health for some time and died peacefully at his home in Johannesburg.