Mandela daughters hear of death at premiere

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Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former president Nelson Mandela, arrives for the royal premiere of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" in London. Picture: Suzanne Plunkett

London - Nelson Mandela's two youngest daughters were at the royal premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” in London when their father passed away, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement on Friday.

The movie, which was released in South Africa last week, is based on the former president's life.

“They (the daughters) received the news of their father's passing during the screening and immediately left the cinema,” said the organisation.

People attending the premiere were told of Mandela's death as the closing credits rolled.

Stopping the screening was discussed, but Mandela's daughters asked that the premiere continue, a film spokesman said Thursday night.

Producer Anant Singh announced Mandela's death once the film was over, and he called for a moment of silence.

The audience included the film's stars and Prince William and his wife, Kate.

"It was extremely sad and tragic news," William said upon leaving the film.

When asked on the red carpet on her way into the premiere about her father, Zindzi Mandela had said, "My father is fine." - Sapa and AP

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