Upon hearing of former South African President Nelson Mandela's death on Thursday evening, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon told reporters he was astounded by Mandela's humility when he met Mandela in 2009.
"When I met him in his residence, I was deeply touched and moved and inspired by what he said," Ban recalled, when asked what his foremost memory of Mandela was. "When I praised him for his lifelong contribution and struggle to end apartheid, he said, 'It's not only me, there are hundreds and hundreds of unknown people who have contributed to ending apartheid."
"I was so touched," Ban said. "It has stuck with me since then. It was such a sense of human decency. Such humility and humbleness."
In his prepared statement, Ban called Mandela "a singular figure on the global stage -- a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration….Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world."