Winnie Mandela Dies at Age 81

Winnie Mandela, the controversial wife of South African human rights icon and president Nelson Mandela, has died, according to several news outlets. She was 81.

Her personal assistant told the BBC about her passing.

South African website Eyewitness News said Mandela had been ill for several years and had been hospitalized recently with kidney problems.

She was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, during 27 of which he was imprisoned by the minority-white apartheid regime. After her husband’s release in 1990 and ascendancy to the presidency of South Africa in 1994, the couple soon separated and divorced in 1996.

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