Apple celebrated the life and mourned the death of Nelson Mandela and paid homage to the human rights hero by posting an image of the former South African President over the weekend on its homepage. The creator of iPhone and iPad removed product-related content and replaced it with a black and white image of the anti-apartheid champion Mandela, who passed away Thursday. He was 95.
The social media world was immediately flooded with messages honoring Mandela, who ruled as the first black president of his country between 1994 and 1999, as news about his death spread.
Apple top executives also posted their admiration for Mandela on Twitter.
“Amazing human being. Champion of freedom and human dignity. He set an example for all of the world. RIP Nelson Mandela. We miss you already,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook posted on his Twitter account.
Amazing human being. Champion of freedom and human dignity. He set an example for all of the world. RIP Nelson Mandela. We miss you already.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 6, 2013
Worldwide marketing senior vice president of Apple, Phil Schiller, also paid his respects to Mandela by posting one of the famous quotes of the Nobel Prize winner. “‘Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.’ His Excellancy [sic] Nelson Mandella, 1918 - 2013 #NelsonMandela,” Schiller said via Twitter.
"Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement." His Excellancy Nelson Mandela, 1918 - 2013 #NelsonMandela — Philip Schiller (@pschiller) December 6, 2013
Apple has also paid tribute to other personalities in the past, such as civil rights activist Rosa Parks, Apple board member Jerome York, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Mandela was imprisoned by the South African government for 27 years for fighting its apartheid segregation policies. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1964 and spent most of his years in Robben Island from where he inspired thousands of his countrymen. He was offered pardon in 1985 by the government of P.W. Botha but Mandela rejected the offer and told the government he will only accept if the apartheid is abolished.
The human rights icon was released February 1990 when negotiations also begun to end the apartheid. Together with the last white South African President F.W. Klerk, Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. Mandela was sworn to presidency in May 1994.
In 2012, he was hospitalized several times and his health continued to decline through 2013. When he passed away Thursday, it is not only South Africa that lost a great son but mankind bids farewell to a freedom champion that changed how humans treated each other.