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Utah Governor, Mormon Church Praise Mandela

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File photo of Nelson Mandela. (Photo by WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of Nelson Mandela. (Photo by WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Top Utah elected officials are praising Nelson Mandela, saying the world has lost one of its greatest leaders.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died Thursday at the age of 95. He was imprisoned for 27 years for opposing apartheid and helped dismantle the country’s legacy of institutionalized racism.

Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement calling Mandela a “great humanitarian who suffered much for his fellow man.” He says Mandela’s humanitarian legacy should encourage everyone to be better.

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement, said his “courage, kindness and extraordinary moral leadership have been an example to all people.”

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch issued a statement saying Mandela’s “dignity, courage and conviction” in combatting racism and presiding over South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy “made him a lion among men.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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