(NBC News) Nelson Mandela was lauded as a "giant of history" and "one of the greatest leaders of our time" as tens of thousands cheered and almost 100 world leaders paid tribute to the anti-apartheid icon at a memorial service Tuesday.
President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and some of his grandchildren addressed a service honoring the freedom fighter, prisoner, president and Nobel laureate who led his nation out of apartheid.
"His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy," President Obama said. "The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us."
Ban called Mandela, who died last week aged 95, "one of the greatest leaders of our time."
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