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Dutch City Council Erroneously Pronounces Nelson Mandela Dead

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The city council of an Amsterdam neighborhood observed a minute of silence to mark the death of South African icon Nelson Mandela on Tuesday. Mandela, however, is not dead.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that members of the council of Southeast Amsterdam concluded based on Facebook messages that Mandela had passed away Tuesday evening.

"Mart van de Wiel of the D66/OZO fraction told us during the pause that his hero had died," clerk Sjam Jokhan told Dutch newspaper Het Parool. "I tried to verify the report," he added. "I found dozens of messages on Twitter that seemed to confirm the news, includuing messages like breaking news and it's official."

The council decided to hold a minute of silence honoring South Africa's former president. However, council members quickly learned of their mistake.

Clerk Jokhan adds: "It shows again how careful you have to be with reports on the internet."

The Dutch council members were not the only ones to jump the gun on Mandela's death, however. Pop star Rihanna tweeted her condolences on Tuesday, saying "Nelson Mandela... one of the most incredible men to ever walk this earth!!! Sending prayers up to the Heavens for you."

Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to a South African hospital on June 8 with a lung infection. His condition has been described as "critical," and members of the Mandela family and tribal leaders gathered in the former president's hometown on Tuesday to discuss Madiba's situation.

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Nelson Mandela (Captions by AP)
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