South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Mandela has died aged 81, her personal assistant says.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.
The couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.
However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.
Her family are expected to release a statement later today.
The cause of her death was a ‘long-term illness’, according to her family, with The USA Magazinereporting, “Mandela was admitted to the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg over the weekend after complaining of the flu.
Her spokesperson said in a statement to the state broadcaster that the politician — who also suffered from diabetes and recently underwent several major surgeries — had been in and out of the hospital since the start of the year.”