The world mourns Mandela
People from all around the world turned to the social networking site Twitter to send their condolences to the family of former president Nelson Mandela.
Just before midnight on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela, 95, had died at his Houghton residence.
"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 8.50pm on December 5," Zuma said.
"He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son."
On Twitter, US businessman Bill Gates wrote: "Every time Melinda and I met Nelson Mandela, we left more inspired than ever. His grace and courage changed the world. This is a sad day."
US actor Jamie Foxx said: "Thank you for your mark you left on humanity Mr. Mandela. Prayers to his family, friends and the people of South Africa."
Well-known musical icons also expressed sadness at news of Mandela's death.
Beverley Knight said: "I met and sang for Mr Mandela twice. Greatest honour of my life.The most magnetic person I have ever, and will ever meet. RIP Madiba. Xxxx"
International gospel musician Byron Cage commented: "Wow. I am in Jburg South Africa, and woke up to only find out that President Nelson Mandela has died. What a GREAT AND HONORABLE MAN."
The Springbok rugby team also turned to Twitter to express sadness at Mandela's death.
"Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. We will never forget the role you played in our country, in our sport, and for that we are eternally grateful."
South African swimmer Roland Schoeman tweeted: "RIP Madiba you were a beacon of hope. May you dreams and ideals live in everyone that comes after you. "
Television personality Ursula Chikane wrote: "To have lived and learned in the time of Nelson Mandela. That's the blessing."
City Press editor Ferial Haffajee tweeted: "I'm thinking of a smiling Albertina, Jakes, Walter getting out the celestial welcome mat. (or maybe just cheering up my rather sore heart)."
Businessman Given Mkhari said: "Mandela was, is and will always be."
President Jacob Zuma said flags around the country would be flown at half mast from Friday until his funeral.
"Our beloved Madiba will be accorded a state funeral. I order that all flags be lowered to half mast from tomorrow 6 December and to remain at half mast till after the funeral as we gather to pay our last respects," he said.