Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and legendary anti-apartheid revolutionary, died at home in South Africa today. He was 95 years old.

According to the BBC, South African president Jacob Zuma announced Mandela's death over state TV. The cause of death was the lung infection that Mandela had been battling for months.

An international icon, Mandela is known for his dedication to abolishing apartheid in South Africa, as well as his belief in non-violent resistance. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and served as South Africa's first black president. Most recently Mandela was vocal in the fight against HIV/Aids.

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa. He became active in the anti-apartheid movement during his 20s, joining the African National Congress [ANC] and spending the next two decades leading peaceful protests against the South African government.

In 1958 the ANC was banned by the government and in the early 1960's, Mandela, who was known for his nonviolent methods, converted to the idea that armed struggle and force could also be a way to enact change. As a result he formed an armed group that endorsed guerrilla war tactics and sabotage in the fight to end apartheid. Mandela was subsequently arrested and charged with an attempt to overthrow the government. In 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison.

His statements from the courtroom after his conviction are some of his most well known. "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years. While in jail he continued to be a key symbol for the anti-apartheid crusade, motivating the coordination of a large-scale international campaign for his release. In 1988 a widely televised concert at Wembley stadium in London featured a variety of big name musicians and over 70 thousand attendees singing for Mandela.

In 1990 pressure from the "Free Mandela" campaign finally lead to the lifting of the ANC ban and the release of Mandela from prison. In 1991 Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress, and worked with President F.W. de Klerk towards launching the nation's first multi-racial democratic elections. In 1993, as a result of their efforts and their work against apartheid, the two were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

One year later Mandela won South Africa's inaugural democratic elections, becoming their first black president. He was 77 years old. Mandela's term in office was spent pushing to reinvent the international image of South Africa, while also attempting to handle internal issues like housing shortages for the poor. He retired in 1999.

Since his retirement as president Mandela had continued to work in politics, acting as ambassador to South Africa and playing a crucial role in bringing the 2010 World Cup to the country. He also founded several charitable organizations, including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Most recently he channeled his now-legendary will into the fight against HIV/AIDS, a disease that took the life of his son, Makgatho.

Mandela is survived by his third wife, the Mozambican politician Graca Machel, three of his six children, and seventeen grandchildren.

In his autobiography, a Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela writes,

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.