Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a poignant statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela:
I will never forget the time I spent with President Mandela.
Even before I met him, he was one of my heroes. But during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in South Africa, I had the opportunity to stand with him in his former jail cell at Robben Island to light the torch, and his legend grew before my eyes.
He told me about his struggles, his time in captivity, his persecution and oppression. Most people would have had nothing in their heart but revenge, but all President Mandela had was forgiveness. He is the definition of serving a cause greater than self. He singlehandedly reunited his nation, because he had a vision of the future that should inspire all of us.
President Mandela's life is the closest thing we have to proof of God. I will never be able to thank him enough for his inspiration. Today, each of us should commit to do at least one small thing to improve the planet in his honor. Give back. Help someone. Change the world.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa.