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By Rebecca Merriman On December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela's Funeral: Oprah Winfrey, Bono And Naomi Campbell To Join World Leaders At Memorial

South African, former president died last week age 95

Celebrities from the world of TV, music and film will be paying tribute to former South African leader Nelson Mandela in Soweto today (Dec. 10) including Bono, Annie Lennox and Oprah Winfrey, alongside world leaders and dignitaries.

The 95 year-old, who was a symbol of hope and peace around the world, passed away last week following months of illness. A memorial service will be held today in Soweto at the FNB stadium where 80,000 are expected to pay tribute to the "father" of South Africa.

A smaller funeral will be held on Sunday in Qunu, Eastern Cape province where the leader was from, with some of the guests from Tuesday expected to attend. 

As well as world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, those in the entertainment world who forged links with the leader are also expected to attend.

According to The Guardian supermodel Naomi Campbell, Virgin boss Richard Branson, Windows CEO Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and musicians Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel and Bono will be attending.

Nelson Mandela died age 95 - WENN

Addressing the South African nation and the world, President Zuma confirmed the sad death last Thursday night, he said in a statement: "The nation has lost its greatest son", adding that "he is now resting. He is now at peace."

"What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,"

"Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell."

The anti-apartheid leader spent 27 years in prison before going on to become South Africa's first black president as he led the country's transition from white minority rule. He was imprisoned in 1964, charged with sabotage and was not released until 1990. He received the Nobel Peace Prize three years later.

Celebrities pay tribute to Nelson Mandela following sad news of his death

Oprah Winfrey led the tributes to the late world leader on Twitter, she said: "One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all." (Instagram/OprahWinfrey)
The TV mogul and activist was known to be close to the South African leader and called him her "hero" in a touching tribute (WENN)
Jada Pinkett Smith, who met the former President several times also took to Twitter to give thanks for his life, she wrote: "The world has lost a great man, a powerful spirit and that simply made me... sad. Rest in peace, Madiba." (JadaPinkettSmith/Twitter)
Jada and husband Will were at the 90th birthday concert thrown for Mandela in Hyde Park in 2008. (WENN)
As was Annie Lennox, who performed at the concert along with the likes of Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse. Paying her own tribute Lennox said today in a post to Facebook: "The world woke up to the news that Mandela has departed, leaving an extraordinary legacy in his wake. 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."
Models Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss visited the leader at his home in Cape Town in 1998. Speaking about how Mandela had inspired her, Campbell told Net-A-Porter in October this year: "There will never be anyone like him again. When you meet him, you just get such a positive aura. It’s incredible.” (WENN)
In 1998 Diana Ross travelled to Johannesburg at the request of Mandela, to perform at the opening of a new music auditorium. Speaking ahead of the concert he said: "I hardly go to music concerts anymore, but tomorrow I will be going to her concert " (WENN)
The Spice Girls met the beloved leader along with Prince Charles in South Africa in 2007. Pating tribute on Twitter today Geri Halliwell admitted it had been the greatest honour, she wrote: "Rip Nelson Mandela , it was a absolute honour to meet such an inspiring man , he was amazing, incredibly charming and warm." (Twitter/GeriHalliwell)
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton also paid tribute on Twitter, saying meeting the great leader had been one of the best moments of his life, he wrote: "One of the most special moments in my life was meeting the great Madiba. God rest your soul. I will miss you x" (LewisHamilton/Twitter)
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