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The intense interest in Mandela's decline is due to his resonance around the world.
In Britain, the Archbishop of York issued a special prayer for Mandela.
A YouTube "Pledge for Peace: I Am Nelson Mandela" campaign inspired videos from Japan, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Italy, and India.
In Bangladesh, the popular actor Hasan Masood wrote on Facebook: "Nelson Mandela, please get well soon. May God give you the strength to come back."
A headline in a Malaysian newspaper read: "Everyone's Hero."
"I am very angry," said Mariana Alves in Madrid, who believes Mandela's illness stems from harsh treatment during his 27 years in prison. "But you have to admire that he was able to forgive those who treated him so badly and finally condemned him to die this way, breathless."
In Australia and the Netherlands, there were false reports of Mandela's death — the latter prompting an Amsterdam neighborhood council to observe a minute of silence in his honor.
"I think we just have to leave him peacefully," said Ramesh Pasupuleti, parking his car in north London's Mandela Street, one of several so named. "If the time comes, the time comes. We are all grateful for what he has done."
People feel as if they know Mandela, said Kraft, the psychologist.
"He was not secretive. When he experienced joy he smiled, he danced, he hugged, he embraced. He put himself and his emotions out in public. We also saw his struggles," he said.
"I think he is one of the truly great people of the last 100 years. It's not as if a somewhat lesser person is dying, or a beloved celebrity is dying. We are aware that greatness is going to be gone," Kraft continued. "It's a little different than someone else who is simply well known and accomplished."
And when the end does come, whenever that may be, it too will be different.
"I don't think you can really prepare for it," said Haysbert, the actor. "What does that mean, you're not going to feel the emotion of it?"
"You're thinking that you prepared yourself for it until it happens," he said. "Then it just sort of smacks you."