There was sorrow today at the death of Nelson Mandela but also celebration of the life of an inspirational leader who was the " embodiment of courage and reconciliation".
Around the world, politicians and public alike paid their tributes to South Africa's first black president. Impromptu shrines were created as flowers were placed by the many statues honouring Mr Mandela.
The Queen said she was ''deeply saddened'' to learn of his death , saying he ''worked tirelessly for the good of his country''.
The anti-apartheid hero, held in the highest esteem across the world for leading his nation's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s after 27 years in prison, died yesterday. He had been receiving medical care for a lung infection at his home.
Mr Mandela spent his final months surrounded by family after being released from hospital following a three-month stay and died peacefully, President Jacob Zuma announced in a televised address last night.
The Prince of Wales said Mr Mandela was "the embodiment of courage and reconciliation".
He said: "He was also a man of great humour and had a real zest for life."
The world learnt of his death as royalty, celebrities and fans were watching the royal premiere of a film chronicling his incredible life.
In a twist of fate, it was during the screening in London's Leicester Square that Mr Mandela's daughter Zindzi Mandela was informed her 95-year-old father had died peacefully at home.
Gasps were audible in the auditorium at the film premiere as the news was broken to Ms Mandela, although fellow audience members were not informed of the death until after the screening of the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
The Duke of Cambridge, with Kate beside him, gave a sombre tribute after leaving the cinema.
"It was extremely sad and tragic news," he said.
"We were just reminded of what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now."
Damian McCarthy, 45, who was at the screening, said: "I've never felt an atmosphere like that. It was unbelievable. It went from being quite a high-spirited occasion to absolute silence - stunned silence.
"It's one of those moments where people say 'Do you remember where you were?'. It's definitely put a bit of a bizarre twist on the premiere."
After the film, Idris Elba, who plays Mr Mandela, took to the stage with producer Harvey Weinstein to hold a moment's silence to honour the great man.
A law student turned freedom fighter, Mr Mandela's battle to end the system of apartheid that tore apart his nation led to his incarceration in a tiny cell in the infamous Robben Island jail.
He was released from prison in 1990, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa's first black president the following year.
Flowers and a framed picture of Mr Mandela were laid at the base of his statue in London's Parliament Square in the early hours.
One tribute on a card read: ''Thank you for the sacrifices you made for all of us.''
A second read: ''May God shine light on your homecoming in heaven. Rest in Peace Mr Mandela.''
Westminster Abbey will hold a national service of thanksgiving for the life of Mr Mandela after the state funeral in South Africa. A book of condolence was also opened at St Margaret's Church at the Abbey.
David Cameron hailed Mr Mandela's "extraordinary generosity of spirit" and "extraordinary forgiveness", describing him as an "inspiration for the future".
He was the first to sign a book of condolence at South Africa House in London.
In a message, he said Mr Mandela "will inspire generations to come".
He wrote: "Your cause of fighting for freedom and against discrimination, your struggle for justice, your triumph against adversity - these things will inspire generations to come.
"And through all of this, your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by."
He ended his message with a quote: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."
After signing the book, Mr Cameron said his thoughts were of "extraordinary sadness at the passing of such a heroic figure".
"He lived this extraordinary life of belief in this simple principle - fighting discrimination," he said.
Recalling his own personal memories of Mr Mandela, he said he remembers a man "who had a wonderful sense of humour".
He said his abiding memory of Mr Mandela is seeing him in Johannesburg and hearing him talk about what he had suffered, and yet his "complete forgiveness, his total lack of malice towards those who'd done this to him".
Mr Cameron said he was also struck by the fact that after leaving power Mr Mandela still cared so deeply about the issues - such as Aids and HIV - that were affecting his country.
He said Mr Mandela had a sense of forgiveness, which he said is something we all need to learn and try to live by.
When asked about the Conservative Party's attitude to Mr Mandela and the ANC in the past, Mr Cameron said he had written and spoken about that before.
"I think today is a day to focus on his legacy, on his life, on his work.
"And above all the inspiration that he will give to millions of people across the world."
People have been leaving flowers outside South Africa House since the news of Mr Mandela's death broke.
Dozens of bouquets were the centrepiece as crowds came to pay their respects and take photographs.
People were singing and dancing while a growing number of press watched.
As the candles and flowers multiplied, a group of people with South African scarves and flags cried out "Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela" and "Viva Mandela".
Joan Foster, 51, from London, left a bunch of flowers and said she could "be here all day" explaining why she felt like she had to do so.
She said: "It's amazing how one person made so much change. How many people could say they made a nation change the way they think?"
Ms Foster said she remembered watching his release from prison on television.
"The excitement was killing me," she said.
Hugh Sinclair, 54, from Germany, broke down in tears as he spoke about Mr Mandela after leaving flowers.
He said he was an example to the world of how "humans should be".
"There's so much war and hatred in the world," he said.
Recalling the day Mr Mandela was released, he said tearfully: "I felt very, very emotional because I'd been to Zimbabwe and I'd been to South Africa when it was under apartheid and I remember how the non-whites suffered.
"It was an enormous relief for so many people."
Mr Sinclair added: "He is one of the truly great leaders, and I feel very thankful that we have him."