International

Jun 27, 2013 7:43 AM by Associated Press

Obama: Mandela a hero to the world

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - President Barack Obama says Nelson Mandela, the critically ill former South African president, is a hero for the world. He says Mandela's legacy will linger through the ages.

Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized since June 8 for what the South African government said was a recurring lung infection.

Obama said Mandela has been an inspiration to him. He said that Mandela's story of imprisonment and emergence as an iconic figure of reconciliation has given him a sense of what is possible when "righteous people, people of good will work together for a larger cause."

He calls Mandela a personal hero.

Obama spoke during a press conference in Dakar with Senegalese President Macky Sall. He was scheduled to travel to South Africa on Friday.

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