Social media users were deeply saddened by the passing of the struggle veteran. Many cited the loss of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as a monumental shift in South Africa's history:
Mama Winnie.— Shailja Patel (@shailjapatel) April 2, 2018
Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela-Mandela.
You deserved a year back for every year you were banned. One for every year you were jailed, hounded, terrorized. One for every year you were erased from the liberation you led, by the party you built. Amandla!#Winnie pic.twitter.com/ltjRINEA4D
You were strong when we couldn't be. You were a rage that sometimes burned too brightly and you showed us how to be brave and be our fearsome best. Lion. Warrior. Mother. Mkhonto. #WinnieMandela— Sisonke Msimang (@Sisonkemsimang) April 2, 2018
I can't believe #WinnieMandela is gone. May she rest in power— cat lady (@NalediMashishi) April 2, 2018
Absolutely devastated that #WinnieMandela has passed on. Yes she was old. But, this is totally unexpected. May her precious rest in power. One of the greatest revolutionaries there ever was. She played her part in the struggle. What a strong woman & fighter. ✊🏾💔— Ara aka Classic Ⓜ️an 👞💼🕶 (@BonaQhama) April 2, 2018
Full Mandela family media statement:
"It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday the 2nd of April 2018.
She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid. She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions, eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then-Orange Free State.
She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people, and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation.
The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life, and even as our hearts break at her passing, we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable woman.
The family will release details of the memorial and funeral services once these have been finalised."
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has passed away at the age of 81, her PA confirmed to EWN on Monday.
The struggle icon and former wife of the late Nelson Mandela had last year been admitted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg with a kidney infection.
According to HeraldLive, after PA Zodwa Zwane confirmed the death of the "Mother of the Nation", as Madikizela-Mandela had been known since struggle days, she said the family would be releasing a statement later in the day.