Officials react to Nelson Mandela's passing

(WTVM) - We will add more statements from officials as they are released.

"Condolences to his family, friends and South Africa. And we all share in their loss and sorrow. We've lost a great warrior today for civil rights and justice."
- Nate Sanderson, president of Columbus, Ga. NAACP branch

"He's a hero of mine. He's someone who's not just a South African hero, but he's a world hero. He taught us all about moral courage."
-Ed DuBose, former president of NAACP Georgia State Conference

"The world lost a selfless champion of freedom, democracy and equality today. Nelson Mandela's courage in the face of terrible injustice helped dismantle apartheid, and his determined leadership guided South Africa through a process of reconciliation that at one time seemed impossible.  Mandela's legacy will be one of dignity, forgiveness and a profound dedication to the principles that all free people hold dear. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa."
- U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (Georgia)

"I was saddened to learn of the death of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela. While serving 27 years in prison President Mandela led the efforts to end the legacy of apartheid and inequality in his country. After being released and elected President he sought to foster racial reconciliation among all people. Through his efforts ethnic tensions were defused. That's the life he lead as a peace maker; he was a deeply respected, compassionate and determined leader. In April, 1995 I had the honor of meeting President Mandela in South Africa and was in awe in his presence. He offered me the opportunity by helicopter to visit his Robben Island prison cell. As I reflect back on that single moment and his life I'm truly moved and saddened by his death. He was the father of the Country. My deepest condolences to the Mandela Family."
- State Representative Calvin Smyre

"Dr. King was my most admired hero until I learned of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. His courage, discipline, humility, and dignity in the face of his life's struggles inspire me daily. His faith in God and commitment to the principles of freedom and justice for all are reflected in his favorite scripture from the Apostle Paul found in the 8th Chapter of Romans; 'Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' He would not be separated from his principles of justice for all, no matter the cost. The world is truly a better place because of the example of his life. I send my deepest sympathies to his family and to the people of South Africa."
- Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr.

"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela. The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world's leading democracies. In recent years, I was gratified to be able to work with him through The Elders to encourage resolution of conflicts and advance social justice and human rights in many nations. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family at this difficult time."
- former U.S. President Jimmy Carter