New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday expressed profound grief over the death of global anti- apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela saying, he was an "icon of inspiration for humanity" and a "great friend of India".
In his condolence message, he has conveyed his profound grief and condolences over the loss of a statesman, world leader and icon of inspiration for humanity.
In the message, the President has said, "President Mandela was a statesman, world leader and icon of inspiration of humanity. He was a great friend of India and his contribution for strengthening the close ties between our two countries will be always remembered".
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in honour of his contribution to the friendship between our two countries, he said.
"I convey heartfelt condolences on behalf of the people and the Government of India as well as my personal behalf to the family members of Late President Mandela and the people and the Government of South Africa," the statement said.
Mandela, South Africa`s first elected black president was widely respected for his role in fighting racism in the country, and for forgiving his former white captors after his release from prison.
Aged 95, he died early this morning in Johannesburg, throwing South Africa in a state of mourning with tributes pouring in from all corners of the world.