Nelson Mandela's extraordinary achievements during his lifetime meant he was never short of accolades from his peers. Here are some of the tributes that came flooding in last night:
"Nelson Mandela is a leader no prison cell, no intimidation, no threat could silence. A man whose belief in the future was so powerful that not even 27 years behind bars and barbed wire could destroy his dream that millions could be free"
– Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister
"Your sacrifices, your accomplishments and your many gifts to our world have affected those no longer with us, as well as those not yet born"
– Former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
"How blessed we have been. He has become the most admired statesman in the world, an icon of forgiveness and reconciliation, a moral colossus ... wonderful man, wonderful, wonderful gift to us"
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"To this day, Madiba (Mandela) remains probably the single most admired, most respected, international figure in the entire world. He continues to inspire millions of people and several generations throughout the globe, by continuing to fight for reconciliation before recrimination, healing before bitterness, peace before conflict; by fighting for health, for education, for the right of every child to have a better start in life"
– Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
"What is so special is that you spend 27 years in prison, you come out and you do the thing that everyone thought was impossible to do, become president of the nation and change the way people feel about Africa, and then you get to live to celebrate 90. I just don't know anybody who deserves this more or anybody who we should be gathered around literally at his feet to say thank you for all that he has given the world"
– US chat show host Oprah Winfrey
"He is a giant amongst the political figures of the modern age. At a time when we are looking for role models, what better role model than Nelson Mandela?"
– Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell