JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela wasn’t on life support and had many family members and doctors close by in his final hours, a family friend who was at his bedside said Sunday.
Bantu Holomisa told The Associated Press that he had been called to Mandela’s home on Thursday by the family so he could visit the anti-apartheid icon before he died.
“You judge the mood in the house. I know the family. It was not the same family I used to see. Even the call itself, ‘please pop in, we think Madiba is in his last days’,” Holomisa said. “I assume the family was warned by the doctors.”
The end came soon. The former president died about two hours after the departure of Holomisa, who was a former deputy minister in Mandela’s Cabinet.
Neither the Mandela family nor the South African government has released details on the final hours of Mandela or given a cause of death.
The account by Holomisa, who says he has known Mandela since he stepped out of prison in 1990, sheds some light on Mandela’s condition as his life ebbed away and on the mood and scene inside the Mandela home at that time.
Holomisa said Mandela’s wife Graca and his former wife Winnie, one of Mandela’s daughters and several of his grand-children were in the house Thursday, where “somberness” prevailed.
Mandela, 95, had been in intensive care at his home in Johannesburg’s Houghton neighborhood since he was discharged on Sept. 1 from a hospital where he had spent nearly three months for a recurring lung infection.
Mandela appeared to be sleeping calmly but Holomisa said that it was obvious that he was finally succumbing to illness.
“I’ve seen people who are on their last hours and I could sense that he is now giving up,” said Holomisa, who is the leader of the United Democratic Movement in parliament.
“You could see it is not Madiba anymore,” Holomisa added, using Mandela’s clan name.
Holomisa said he had previously seen Mandela earlier this year in the hospital.
“This time around he was not on life support,” Holomisa said, adding that Mandela was lying on his bed. “I could see that his condition had deteriorated.”
Mandela’s former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said last month that he was unable to speak because of tubes that kept his lungs clear of fluid, according to The Sunday Independent, a South African newspaper.
Holomisa said he spent almost an hour at Mandela’s home until around 7 p.m., or about two hours before Mandela died Thursday night.
Remembering Nelson Mandela On The Anniversary Of His Death
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Celebrities React to Nelson Mandela's Death Via Social Media
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1. Beyonce Instagrammed this photo with the message: "Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace."
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2. Beyonce also Instagrammed this photo along with the message: "God Bless"
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3. President Obama Tweeted: President Obama remembers Nelson Mandela: "A man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice."
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4. Rihanna Tweeted: "#NelsonMandela you made your people proud!! We'll always love you for it!"
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5. Rihanna also Instagrammed this photo with the message: One of the greatest men who's ever lived!!! #Legend We will never forget the things this man has taught us, and we will never truly comprehend the level of strength that it took for him to endure many of his years!! Thank you #Mandela.
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6. Queen Latifah Tweeted: "God Bless You Mr. Nelson Mandela! Your Strength, Humanity, Intelligence, Honesty and #TrueGrit are unmatched in my lifetime! RIP&Love."
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7. Jamie Foxx Tweeted: "Thank you for your mark you left on humanity Mr. Mandela. Prayers to his family, friends and the people of South Africa."
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8. Jennifer Lopez Tweeted: "It always seems impossible until it's done." Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. You will be missed. #trueinspiration #peoplewhochangetheworld."
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9. R. Kelly Tweeted: "To the Mandela family, may God keep you in perfect peace at this time. For God has chosen a soldier. "
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10. Janelle Monae Tweeted: "1 of the most important&greatest individuals to walk on this Earth. Nelson Mandela. He walked the walk. He was 4 THE PEOPLE. Nelson Mandela."
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11. Kerry Washington Instagrammed this photo with the message: "RIP Nelson Mandela. God Bless You."
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12. Khloe Kardashian Tweeted: "An amazing man with great wisdom. Rest in peace Nelson Mandela."
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13. Pitbull Tweeted: "RIP Nelson Mandela. You are now truly free. God Bless and enjoy the heavens. Tell Celia Cruz hello for me and azucaaaaarrrr"
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14. Katie Couric Tweeted: "If people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love." - #NelsonMandela, RIP & may your words live on... "
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15. Ludacris Tweeted: "Honored that I had a chance to meet this amazing influential being & to participate in his 46664 Aids benefit concert in South Africa. You will live on thru your work for eternity. R.I.P. Nelson Mandela."
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16. NeNe Leakes Tweeted: "RIP Nelson Mandela"
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17. Nas tweeted: "Thank you Nelson Mandela. All the best on your transition."
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18. Gwyneth Paltrow Tweeted: "'Your playing small does not serve the world'. #RIPMandela"
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19. Gabourey Sidibe Tweeted: "'The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.' -Nelson Mandela. Thank you for your bravery."
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20. John Legend Tweeted: "What a heroic, beautiful life Mandela lived. Rest in peace."
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21. Samuel L. Jackson Tweeted: "Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family & his country."
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22. Charlize Theron Tweeted: "My thoughts and love go out to the Mandela family. Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever"
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23. Diddy Tweeted: "Nelson Mandela has just passed away. Rest In Peace to a true revolutionary and inspiration to the World. He was 95 years old. #RIPMandela."
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24. Diddy also Instagrammed this photo with the message: "This man stood for justice and honor!! Today we lost a beautiful soul, inspiration and a true KING! #RIPMandela."
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25. Kendrick Lamar Tweeted: "Advising all my young ones that follow me to research a small piece of Nelson Mandela Life. That's how you pay your respect...... GO!"
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26. Amerie Tweeted: "Rest in peace to a great, great man. The world thanks you."
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27. Q-Tip Tweeted: "A true fighter in every sense of the word... MANDELA!"
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28. Eva Longoria Tweeted: "Today the world lost one it's greatest leaders. Rest in peace Mandela..."
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29. Russell Simmons Tweeted: "When people are determined they can overcome anything." Nelson Mandela."
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30. Anderson Cooper Tweeted: "Mandela is gone. There is no one else like him."
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31. Brian White Tweeted: "Always remembered! #RoleModel #RIP"
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32. Tyra Banks Tweeted this photo with the message: "He lives within us forever. We will never forget. "
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33. Talib Kweli Tweeted: "Today marks the passing of one of the greatest freedom fighters history has ever known. We love you Nelson Mandela. #ripmadiba."
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34. Wayne Brady Tweeted: "RIP Nelson Mandela. Selfless humanitarian. Leader."
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35. Busta Rhymes Tweeted: "RIP 2 ONE OF OUR LAST TRULY GREAT KINGS AND GOD OF OUR UNIVERSE, THE LATE GREAT NELSON MANDELA!!! I WILL 4EVER LOVE U GREAT MAN & GREAT MIND."
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36. Fergie Tweeted: "Meeting Nelson Mandela at his house in Johannesburg was a truly memorable moment in life for me. He was an angel. "
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37. Omarion Tweeted: "Thank you Mandela #RIPMandela rest in love."
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38. LL Cool J Tweeted: "Nelson Mandela. What a difference one person can make. #RestEternally"
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39. Lindsay Lohan Tweeted: "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." #RIPNelsonMandela
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40. Luke James: "Thank You Nelson Mandela, Rest In Peace."
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