The many famous friends of leader Nelson Mandela

Though he'd been sick for some time, the passing of 95-year-old Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and the man responsible for ending apartheid, has sparked mourning and celebration around the world

The peaceful leader spent 27 years in prison before setting out to change his country and, in turn, the world. He was the inaugural president elected by a fully representative population that included all races, thanks to his revolutionary undertaking to end segregation, and worked tirelessly after his presidency as an elder statesman to fight AIDS and poverty.

The day Nelson died, Prince William and Kate, his daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela and various actors were at a Royal Film Performance screening of the new biopic Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom.

Since hearing of his death, celebrities from Samuel L. Jackson and Rihanna to Richard Branson, Paul Simon and the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo have offered an outpouring of memories and praise, which is no surprise since 'Madiba' made more than a few famous friends in his life.

Here, we look back on these friends, and one thing is for sure: With his genuine, ear-to-ear smile, it's no wonder some of Hollywood's biggest stars look humbled and giddy to be by his side.

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