Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement on the passing of President Nelson Mandela:
"Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.' Few 20th century figures changed the world as much as Nelson Mandela.
"Despite 27 years behind bars as a political prisoner, Mandela never lost his optimism, his resolve or his generous heart. A hero of democracy, he earned the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, 2002 U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and eternal gratitude of freedom-loving people everywhere.
"As President, Mandela guided his nation out of the darkness of apartheid, provided free healthcare for children and opposed the death penalty. He could have been content after his Presidency to enjoy much-deserved time with friends and family, but he continued crusading for better schools, AIDS awareness and democracy across Africa.
"We join the people of South Africa and the world in mourning this great loss.
"The vision and spirit of Nelson Mandela live on."