The extraordinary life of the legendary Nelson Mandela was being celebrated in London at the time of his passing with the U.K. premiere of a film about him, London newspapers reported Thursday.
Mandela’s daughter Zindzi Mandela was one of the guests and celebrities who walked the red carpet at the debut of the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," starring actor Idris Elba, Metro reported.
And when stopped by a reporter, Zindzi spoke lovingly of her father.
He was "a man of peace and conciliation," Zindzi said.
"They stuck as close as possible to actually what happened in my father’s life," she told reporters, praising the film for showing "how the lessons he learned … shaped him as a man."
Attendees talking to reporters on the red carpet prior to the screening were unaware of the situation unfolding in Johannesburg, although Mandela’s death had been expected.
His passing was announced at the closing credits and two minutes of silence were observed by the audience attending the event at the Odeon in Leicester Square, The Guardian reported.
"What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world," Elba said after the announcement. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Also at the premiere was Naomie Harris, who played Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Mandela.
Both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended. After the announcement of Mandela's death, Prince William called it "extremely sad and tragic news."
"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," The Guardian reported him as saying.
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