The family of the late President Nelson Mandela say they are humbled by the support they have received from President Jacob Zuma, the medical team that attended to Madiba and messages from all people in South Africa and abroad.
Briefing the media at the SABC studios in Auckland Park on Saturday, retired Lieutenant General Temba Templeton Matanzima also expressed their thanks to the medical team that attended to him "around the clock".
In their first statement ever since Mandela died on Thursday, the family also said the past two days have not been easy as they still grapple to come to terms with his passing.
"Special thanks to President Jacob Zuma and the government of South Africa, the dedicated medical team that attended to him around the clock, religious communities of the different faiths of our country and beyond that offered prayers and counselling to the family.
".. As a family, we are humbled by the messages of condolences and support that we continue to receive from governments and people of the world. Clearly, this once more underlines the simple truth that Madiba was not just a citizen of South Africa and the broader African continent, but a global citizen.
"We are, however, comforted by the knowledge that our pain and sorrow is shared by millions around the world," he said.
Accompanied by Mandela's grandson, Ndaba, Matanzima said they will mostly remember Mandela for his values and sacrifice and his sacrifices, having lived his life to ensure a better life for all South Africans.
"Yes, Tata is gone, the pillar of the family is gone, just as he was away during that 27 painful years of imprisonment, but in our hearts and souls he will always be with us. His spirit endures. As a family, we commit ourselves to uphold and be guided by the values he lived for and was prepared to die for," General Matanzima said.
After the statement, Ndaba said while mourning the death of South Africa's hero, the family learnt about the passing of another South African hero, former boxing champion Baby Jake Matlala, who passed away earlier on Saturday
President Jacob Zuma has also extended condolences to the family of Matlala who passed on today after an illness.
"We have learned with sadness the news of the passing of this outstanding sportsman, known for his professionalism and dedication to boxing. We extend our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time," said President Zuma.