US President Barack Obama lauded Nelson Mandela Thursday as "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth", dpa reported.
Obama pointed to the transformation that Mandela oversaw in South Africa, noting, "He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages."
The first black US president also said South Africa's first black leader had had a tremendous influence on his own political career, noting his first political action as a youth had been an anti-apartheid protest.
"I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him."
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