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Nelson Mandela's last surviving sibling passes away at 81

January 31, 2012

Nelson Mandela's last living sibling recently passed away at the family's compound in Eastern Cape, South Africa. Nothusile Bhulehluthi was 81 years old, 12 years younger than her famous brother, and her death is the latest in a rash of tragedies to strike the Mandela family, according to The Telegraph.

Less than two years ago, Mandela's great-granddaughter Zenani was killed in a car accident after leaving a World Cup kick-off concert - she was only 13 years old. The news source reports that her mother lost a son during childbirth shortly after that as well.

Mandela's sister's passed a few days after the political figurehead left the family compound in Qunu to live in Johannesburg while his home was renovated. Her spirit lives on through the kind words of well-wishers, and even South Africa's President Jacob Zuma offered his condolences.

"On behalf of myself, the people and government of South Africa, I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to Madiba and the entire Mandela family at this difficult time," President Zuma wrote in a statement to the family, according to the South African Government News Service.

Those who want to wish their loved ones well or talk about the Mandelas' tragedy can use phone cards to make calls to South Africa.

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