WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama hailed former South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday as a leader who left his country with a legacy of freedom and peace with the world.

"He achieved more than could be expected of any man," Obama said at the White House shortly after the announcement of Mandela's death.

"Today he's gone home, and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth," Obama said.

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