Nelson Mandela has died aged 95 at his home.

The former South African president had been ill for some time and was admitted to hospital earlier this year with a recurring lung infection.

President Jacob Zuma made the announcement, saying: "He is now at peace".

In a televised address, Zuma said: "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.

"What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves."

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David Cameron tweeted his condolences, adding: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I've asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast."

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  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Nelson Mandela, a senior member of the African National Congress, in prison on Robben Island.

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    circa 1964: Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress (left) in discussion with C Andrews, a Cape Town teacher. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    A file photo dated 1961 of South African anti-apartheid leader and member of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    File photo of African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela and his then-wife Winnie at their wedding in 1957. This copy was taken from the family album the original was by Alf Khumalo. (Photo credit should read ALF KHUMALO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    JOHANNESBURG - SOUTH AFRICA: Nelson Mandela (3rd from right), leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Patrick Molaoa and Robert Resha charged with treason by the South-African Union walked to the room where their trial was being held, Drill Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa.(Photo by API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), adopts a boxing pose, wearing shorts, t-shirt and boxing gloves, circa 1950. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    (FILES) Zinzi Mandela (c), daughter of jailed-for-life African National Congress (ANC) President Nelson Mandela, holds a placard, 29 August 1985 at the campus of the Cape Town University as she and other black and white students stage a demonstration requesting the release of ANC activists. At right, an other student holds a picture of Mandela. (Photo credit should read GIDEON MENDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Winnie Mandela (C), leaves the Palace of Justice in Pretoria 16 June 1964 with her fist clenched, after the verdict of the Rivonia Trial was given, sentencing eight men, including her husband anti-apartheid leader and member of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela, to life imprisonment. The men were charged with conspiracy, sabotage and treason. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    African women demonstrate in front of the Law Courts in Pretoria, 16 June 1964, after the verdict of the Rivonia trial, in which eight men, among them anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The eight men were accused of conspiracy, sabotage and treason. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Eight men, among them anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia trial leave the Palace of Justice in Pretoria 16 June 1964 with their fists raised in defiance through the barred windows of the prison car. The eight men were accused of conspiracy, sabotage and treason. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela studies a giant card to her then-husband African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela at his 70th birthday held in Johannesburg 18 July 1988. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela addresses the crowd standing behind a pile of cards to her then-husband South African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela at his 70th birthday held in Johannesburg 18 July 1988. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with her grandson Ntsika addresses at her then-husband jailed African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday held in Johannesburg 18 July 1988. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela studies messages to her then-husband South African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela at his 70th birthday held in Johannesburg 18 July 1988. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Zinzi Mandela, daughter of jailed-for-life anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, wearing 16 July 1988 in Soweto boxing gloves given to her father by the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Mike Tyson as a present for his 70th birthday. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Crowds of people carrying cross & ANC banner w. pix. of Mandela at Uitenhage shootings memorial service (rally) at Kwanobuhle stadium. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    BRANDFORT, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 26: Winnie Mandela (L), wife of ANC vice-president Nelson Mandela, arrives at the town of Brandfort, 26 March 1986, where she has been banished for nine years. Winnie Mandela arrived with boxes of toys for local children from a top west German diplomat. (Photo credit should read GIDEON MENDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    (FILES) Winnie Mandela (l), wife of jailed-for-life anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, raises a clenched fist 27July 1987 during the funeral of Sello Motau, senior member of the 'Umkhonto We Sizwe' (Spear of the Nation), the ANC military wing, who was gunned down in Swaziland 09 July 1987. At Winnie's left, Sello Motau's mother. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Black youths w. commemorative t-shirts (incl. release Mandela) bearing ANC flag at funeral for anti-apartheid unrest victims in Alexandra township. (Photo by Selwyn Tait//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Rev. Allan Boesak (C) in crush of press, at entrance to Victor Verster Prison, re impending release of ANC ldr. Nelson Mandela. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Press waiting at entrance to Victor Verster Prison for arrival of Winnie Mandela, re impending release of her husband ANC ldr. Nelson. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    A young man holds a local newspaper announcing that ANC is unbanned, on February 02, 1990 in Cape Town during a demonstration of anti-Apartheid marchers demanding the release of all the political prisoners in South Africa, in which anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela. (Photo credit should read RASHID LOMBARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Winnie Mandela in crush of reporters, arriving at Victor Verster Prison to see her husband ANC ldr. Nelson, re his impending release. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    (Multi-racial) crowd of ANC supporters demonstrating for release of imprisoned African Natl. Cong. ldr. Nelson Mandela. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Conservative Party (pro-apartheid) supporters at right-wing rally, w. KP & anti-(Pres.) F.W. (de Klerk) & ANC ldr. Mandela banners. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    ANC ldr. Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie raising fists upon his release from Victor Verster prison after 27 yrs. (Photo by Allan Tannenbaum//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    ANC ldr. Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie raising fists upon his release from Victor Verster prison after 27 yrs. (Photo by Allan Tannenbaum//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    SOUTH AFRICA - CIRCA 1990: Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa in 1990 - The leader NELSON MANDELAduring the meeting of African National Congress (ANC) after his liberation. (Photo by Lily FRANEY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    ANC ldr. Nelson & Winnie Mandela (prob.) at ANC rally in Capetown, S. Africa. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    ANC ldr. Nelson Mandela poised against ANC flag backdrop, at ANC rally in Capetown, S. Africa. (Photo by William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (L) and his then-wife Winnie raise their fists 11 February 1990 in Paarl to salute cheering crowd upon Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela delivers his first public speech in Cape Town, 11 February 1990, since his release from jail. He urged white South Africans to join ANC in working for a new South Africa. At right, Mandela's wife Winnie Mandela. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHALDHLA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela rides in car through cheering fans as exiting from Victor Verster prison upon his release, 11 February 1990. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    A jubilant Sowetan holds up 11 February 1990 in Soweto a newspaper announcing the release of anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, at a mass ANC rally. South African President de Klerk lifted 02 February the 30-year-old ban on the ANC and the South African Communikst Party, and 11 February, Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Vester prison, near Cape Town, after 26 year since he was sentenced to life imprisonment. (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Members of nea-fascist All White Brotherhood protest against Frederik de Klerk's reforms and imminent release from jail of anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela during a rally in Pretoria, 10 February 1990. (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    South African activist and Nobel Peace Prize and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu reacts at announcement of the freedom of the anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela, on February 10, 1990 at his home in Soweto. (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Women and children dance and sing on road near Nelson Mandela's Soweto home, 10 February 1990, shortly after hearing that African National Congress leader is to be freed from jail. Nelson Mandela spent 26 years in jail. (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Freed anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (L) and his wife Winnie stroll, 12 February 1990, in the garden of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's residence in Cape Town, one day after the release from jail of Nelson Mandela. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela smiles as he poses during a photo session after his first press conference since his release from jail, 12 February 1990 in Cape Town. AFP PHOTO WALTER DHLADHLA (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela shown in a file photo dated 12 February 1990 posing for photographers in Cape Town during a photo session after his first press conference after his liberation from jail. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Young boys try to see anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela at Orlando soccer stadium 12 February 1990 whilst thousands of Sowetans wait for him. Mandela arrived in Johannesburg this evening but has not been to Soweto yet. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Young boys try to see anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela at Orlando soccer stadium 12 February 1990 whilst thousands of Sowetans wait for him. Mandela arrived in Johannesburg this evening but has not been to Soweto yet. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Jubilant inhabitants of Soweto attend a mass african National Congress (ANC) rally to be addressed by freed anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela at Orlando stadium in Soweto, 12 February 1990. It's the first rally Nelson Mandela is holding since his release from jail, 11 February 1990. The rally was originaly called for to celebrate the unbanning of the ANC but turned out to be a celebration for the release from jail of Nelson Mandela. (Photo credit should read PHILIP LITTLETON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    (FILES) African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (2nd-L), together with South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu (L), Mandela's then-wife Winnie (C), Walter Sisulu, ANC secretary-general and former Robben Island prison inmate (2nd-R), and Sisulu's wife Albertina, walk in this file photo taken 12 February 1990 in the garden of Tutu's residence in Cape Town, one day after Mandela's release from jail. (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA: Young boys try to see ANC President Nelson Mandela at Orlando soccer stadium 12 February 1990 whilst thousands of Sowetans wait for him. Mandela arrived in Johannesburg this evening but has not been to Soweto yet. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela smiles and clenches his fist as he poses during a photo session after his first press conference since his release from jail, 12 February 1990 in Cape Town. AFP PHOTO WALTER DHLADHLA (Photo credit should read WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    People march in Havana, 15 February 1990, to celebrate the liberation of South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail, was freed 10 February 1990. (Photo credit should read RAFAEL PEREZ/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA: Enthusiastic supporters wait behind a banner commending the release of ANC leader Nelson Mandela outside Mandela's Soweto home 14 February 1990 leaning against a wall fence while Nelson Mandela was being interviewed. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela (L) and former political prisonner Andrew Mlangeni (R) listen to Cyril Ramaphosa of the Reception Committee on how to disperse the large crowd which had gathered outside his Soweto house, febrary 13th. (Photo credit should read PHILIP LITTLETON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie play with their grandchild Bambata at their Soweto home 21 February 1990. After the banning of the ANC in 1960, Nelson Mandela argued for the setting up of a military wing within the ANC. On June 12, 1964, eight of the accused, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Nelson Mandela was released on February 11, 1990. AFP PHOTO WALTER DHLADHLA (Photo credit should read WALTER DHALDHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

    Jubilant inhabitants of Soweto find room where they can in and on a bus to reach Orlando stadium in Soweto, 12 February 1990, to attend a mass African National Congress (ANC) rally to be addressed by freed anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) member Nelson Mandela. It's the first rally Nelson Mandela is holding since his release from jail, 11 February 1990. The rally was originaly called for to celebrate the unbanning of the ANC but turned out to be a celebration for the release from jail of Nelson Mandela. (Photo credit should read TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/GettyImages)

Zuma said: "Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has departed.

"He is now resting. He is now at peace.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."

Zuma said all of South Africa's thoughts were with Mr Mandela's family, friends and those who fought alongside him during his struggle for equality.

"Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who more than any other came to embody their sense of a common nation," he said from Pretoria.

"Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own and who saw his cause as their cause.

"This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost his greatest son. Yet what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human - we saw in him what we seek in ourselves and in him we saw so much of ourselves."

Zuma said the man known as Madiba brought South Africa together and would be afforded a state funeral. South African flags would be lowered to half mast from tomorrow until the funeral, he said.

"As we gather to pay our last respects, let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that Madiba personified," he said.

"Let us be mindful of his wishes and the wishes of his family as we gather wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world.

"Let us recall the values for which Madiba fought.

"Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another."

Zuma finished his address by saying simply: "We will always love you Madiba. May your soul rest in peace. God bless Africa."