Mandela died after 'wonderful' time with family: Daughter

Mandela died after 'wonderful' time with family: Daughter
Tributes and flowers accumulate at the base of a statue of South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela at Parliament Square in London December 6, 2013.

LONDON - The eldest daughter of Nelson Mandela on Monday told how her father spent a "wonderful" week surrounded by family before dying on Thursday aged 95.

Makaziwe Mandela told the BBC that the anti-apartheid icon was with his children and grandchildren and wife Graca.

"Until the last moment he had us," she told BBC journalist Komla Dumor.

"The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day."

She said the former South African president's illness had been "a very long painful period", but called the week before his death "a wonderful time".

"When the doctors told us I think Thursday morning...that there was nothing that they could do...it was a most wonderful day for us because the grandchildren were there, we were there."

Around 100 world leaders and 80,000 South Africans will gather at a stadium in Soweto - the crucible of Mandela's anti-apartheid struggle - to bid farewell on Tuesday to a man whose life story earned uncommon universal respect.

Some 120,000 people will be able to watch the event on giant screens set up in three overflow stadiums in Johannesburg.

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