In the past few minutes, South African President Jacob Zuma has announced the death of Nelson Mandela, saying the nation had lost its greatest son.
Mr Mandela, who was 95, had been suffering from a recurrence of a lung infection. He was admitted to hospital three times this year but since September he had been receiving treatment at his home in Johannesburg.
President Zuma said: "Our people have lost their father. Although we knew this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of profound and enduring loss."
Mr Zuma said Nelson Mandela would be accorded a state funeral.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family," Mr Zuma said.
2210 Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC News, Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela's body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the state funeral is expected to take place next Saturday.
All flags in South Africa will be lowered to half-mast and will remain like that until after Mr Mandela's funeral, President Zuma announced.
Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president after a long fight against white minority rule. The BBC looks at his life in pictures
World leaders past and present have been paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said "a great light has gone out in the world".
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mandela was "a source of inspiration" for the world.