President Obama responded to reports that Nelson Mandela's health is declining, reports CNN. While visiting Dakar, Senegal, on the first leg of his six day trip to Africa, Obama praised the anti-apartheid leader.
"He's a personal hero, but I'm not unique in that regard," said Obama to Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. "I think he's a hero for the world and if/when he passes, we know his legacy will linger on throughout the ages."
Obama is scheduled to visit South Africa for three days beginning Friday and visit Tanzania for two days before returning to the United States. Given Mandela's current condition, the president isn't expected to visit him in the hospital.
In recent days, Mandela's condition has deteriorated from critical to being on life support. As the world prays for the leader, numerous candles, balloons and stuffed animals are lined outside the Pretoria hospital where he has been receiving treatment since June 8th.