DAKAR, Senegal — President Barack Obama says Nelson Mandela, the critically ill former South African president, is a hero for the world. He says Mandela's legacy will linger through the ages.
Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized since June 8 for what the South African government said was a recurring lung infection.
Obama said Mandela has been an inspiration to him. He said that Mandela's story of imprisonment and emergence as an iconic figure of reconciliation has given him a sense of what is possible when "righteous people, people of good will work together for a larger cause."
He calls Mandela a personal hero.
Obama spoke during a press conference in Dakar with Senegalese President Macky Sall. He was scheduled to travel to South Africa on Friday.