POLITICS
12/06/2013 05:36 pm ET

Bill Clinton On Why Nelson Mandela Became 'A Hero'

Former President Bill Clinton weighed in on the late South African President Nelson Mandela, telling CNN he "became a hero because he survived and he thrived and he served."

"And he did it because he was free and because people felt that -- and he was able to engender -- this is a tribute to the rest of South Africa. He was able to engender a level of trust in people because he trusted them," Clinton said. "And it worked out for him, uh, in a way that was altogether fitting and just. He was an astonishing human being."

Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95. Clinton, who said he had a "genuine friendship" with Mandela, will attend the civil rights activist's funeral, along with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Read more from CNN's interview with Clinton here.

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