HOUSTON -

President Barack Obama says the world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Obama says Mandela "no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages." Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

Obama added, "To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real.  A free South Africa at peace with itself -- that's an example to the world, and that's Madiba's legacy to the nation he loved. We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set:  to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice. For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived -- a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace."

Following is a statement by former President George H. W. Bush on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela:

"Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know.  As President, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment -- setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all.  He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country.  Barbara and I had great respect for President Mandela, and send our condolences to his family and countrymen."

Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela:

“Through his valiant struggle against the injustices of apartheid, Nelson Mandela became a symbol of what one person can do to change the world. His life and legacy will remain an inspiration to people everywhere who believe in the power of freedom to create stronger nations, and forge a better world for future generations. Today, the prayers of Texans are with Mandela’s family, his friends, and the people of South Africa.”

Statement by President George W. Bush on the passing of President Nelson Mandela:

“Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.  President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time.  He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.  This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever.  Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela’s family and to the citizens of the nation he loved.”

In a statement issued by his Houston law office, former Secretary of State James A. Baker
said:

"Nelson Mandela was quite simply a beautiful human being -- a man of endearing and enduring dignity. Soft-spoken and reserved, he was nevertheless an individual of strong character and conviction. He provided a symphonic voice for all who cherish freedom and human rights, and the world and his beloved South Africa were made much better by his presence."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, which read in part:

“On this sad day, the thoughts, prayers, and wishes of all Americans, and peace loving people the world over, are with Nelson Mandela and his family...Today we honor the life and work of a man who by his courage, commitment to justice, grace in the face of unearned suffering, and capacity to forgive continues to inspire the world... May the life of Nelson Mandela long stand as the ultimate tribute to the triumph of hope.  May it be a comfort to his family, to his friends and loved ones, to the people of South Africa that so many mourn the loss of this extraordinary man and incredible leader at this sad time.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reacted today to news of former South African President Nelson Mandela's passing:

"Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe. He stood firm for decades on the principle that until all South Africans enjoyed equal liberties he would not leave prison himself, declaring in his autobiography, 'Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.' Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free. We mourn his loss and offer our condolences to his family and the people of South Africa."

Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) released the following statement:

"Texas joins the rest of the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of history’s bravest leaders.  His sacrifice and courage in the face of unspeakable hardship demonstrated the extent to which some must fight for their freedom.  We must all honor his legacy as we continue the struggle to improve all peoples’ lives.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family."

State Rep. Sylvester Turner said:

"Mr. Mandela has inspired all of us and we are honored to have known such an amazing human being. There is no doubt that he has made an impact on all our lives."

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela:

“Nelson Mandela united both his country and the world around the basic dignity owed to every human being.  His unwavering commitment to justice and equality remains a model for each of us.  As we mourn this great leader, let us also celebrate his life and work to carry on his legacy.”

Rice University released a video tribute in honor of Mandela. You can watch the video by clicking here.

Muhammad Ali paid tribute to Nelson Mandela as a symbol of forgiveness who inspired others:

"What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge...He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale...He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically...He made us realize, we are our brother's keeper and that our brothers come in all colors."