In the wake of the death Thursday of former South African president Nelson Mandela, a wide variety of music artists came forward to pay tribute to the influential and beloved politician and freedom fighter. Now, some more music luminaries have added their thoughts about the man who helped bring an end to his country's oppressive apartheid system.
Paul McCartney issued a statement calling Mandela "one of the great men of all time." The legendary Beatles star added, "I particularly admired his lack of bitterness towards his jailers, which I think set the tone for South Africa's transition to democracy. I never actually got to meet him although I wished I could have done and, in fact, I would say he is the greatest man I never met."
McCartney's Beatles band mate Ringo Starr added a few of his words in honor of the departed statesman. He wrote, "God bless Nelson Mandela peace and love."
Surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor had a close connection with Mandela, having played at and helped organize a November 2003 benefit concert in Cape Town, South Africa, for Nelson's 46664 AIDS-awareness campaign.
May recalled spending some time at Mandela's game park retreat while organizing the concert, saying, "They were life-changing days, with quiet time and talks around a camp fire at night."
The guitarist added that Mandela "was the most inspiring man of his generation. His message, by example, was the power of forgiveness. He showed us that it's possible to act after great injustice with no thought of revenge. He was light, funny, enormously generous, and, quietly, the greatest example to the world that a man can be."
Taylor, meanwhile, said of Mandela's passing, "How sad. Leaves a great big hole in the world."
Annie Lennox, who also performed at the 46664 concerts and is involved with the AIDS campaign, noted that many people are committed to continuing the fight that Mandela so wholeheartedly supported.
"The world woke up to the news that Mandela has departed, leaving an extraordinary legacy in his wake," the Eurythmics singer wrote. "Thousands of AIDS activists are gathering here in Cape Town for the biggest AIDS conference in Africa, the 17th ICASA. We are carrying on his work. Rest in Peace Madiba."
Another 46664 supporter and performer, Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart, had this to say about Mandela: "[He was] the most amazing person I ever met. Compassion, Wisdom, Grace…and that smile…I could feel the LOVE RADIATING from him."
Meanwhile, ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash also lamented Mandela's passing, writing, "Really sad to hear we have lost the great Nelson Mandela, one of the few pillars of humanity we had left."
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