Obama: Nelson Mandela 'Achieved More Than Could Be Expected Of Any Man'

12/05/2013 05:31 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

President Barack Obama spoke Thursday on the death of Nelson Mandela, praising the South African leader for having "achieved more than could be expected of any man."

"We've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with," Obama said. "He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages ... His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to."

"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," Obama continued, citing his own protests against apartheid as one of his first political actions. "I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela."

Obama continued, "We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again."

Mandela, who served as the country's first black president, died Thursday at the age of 95 after a long battle with a lung infection.

Obama had hoped to meet with the former South Africa president earlier this year when he visited the country. However, Mandela was hospitalized at the time. Obama did meet with several members of the Mandela family and spoke by telephone with his wife, Graça Machel.

Also on HuffPost:

Politicians React To Mandela's Death

CONVERSATIONS