South African President Nelson Mandela and American pop star Whitney Houston meet in Johannesburg in this November 10, 1994 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela and American pop star Whitney Houston meet in Johannesburg in this November 10, 1994 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela and Brazilian Sport Minister and former soccer player Pele smile for photographers at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in this file picture taken March 24, 1995. Photo: REUTERS/ Juda Ngwenya/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela and Brazilian Sport Minister and former soccer player Pele smile for photographers at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in this file picture taken March 24, 1995. Photo: REUTERS/ Juda Ngwenya/Files
Former South African president Nelson Mandela poses with television personality Oprah Winfrey in Johannesburg, in this December 6, 2002 file photo. Photo: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters
Former South African president Nelson Mandela poses with television personality Oprah Winfrey in Johannesburg, in this December 6, 2002 file photo. Photo: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters
In this Tuesday, June 15, 1999 file photo American actor and singer Harry Belafonte poses with his wife, Julie, and Madiba in Pretoria. Photo: Themba Hadebe
In this Tuesday, June 15, 1999 file photo American actor and singer Harry Belafonte poses with his wife, Julie, and Madiba in Pretoria. Photo: Themba Hadebe
Diana, Britain's Princess of Wales, meets South African President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town in this March 17, 1997 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer/Files
Diana, Britain's Princess of Wales, meets South African President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town in this March 17, 1997 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela and pop star Michael Jackson hug each other at Madibas's official home in Cape Town, in this July 20, 1996 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Patrick de Noirmont/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela and pop star Michael Jackson hug each other at Madibas's official home in Cape Town, in this July 20, 1996 file photo. Photo: REUTERS/Patrick de Noirmont/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela shares a joke with Bill Gates after their meeting at Mandela's residence in Cape Town, in this file picture taken March 11, 1997. Photo: REUTERS/Files
South African President Nelson Mandela shares a joke with Bill Gates after their meeting at Mandela's residence in Cape Town, in this file picture taken March 11, 1997. Photo: REUTERS/Files
The Spice Girls meet Nelson Mandela.
The Spice Girls meet Nelson Mandela.
xxxx at the 46664 charity concert in honour of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday in London, Friday, June 27, 2008. The former South African president's 90th birthday falls on July 18. (AP Photo/Edmond Terakopian)
xxxx at the 46664 charity concert in honour of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday in London, Friday, June 27, 2008. The former South African president's 90th birthday falls on July 18. (AP Photo/Edmond Terakopian)
Nelson Mandela (L) and singer Katie Melua talk to journalists at a press conference for the second 46664 concert near the small Southern Cape province town of George, March 18, 2005. Annie Lennox, Queen with Paul Rodgers,  Melua and India Arie are included in the line-up for the concert on Saturday, March 19. 46664 is an AIDS awareness campaign that takes it's name from Mandela's prison number during his 27 year incarceration. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Nelson Mandela (L) and singer Katie Melua talk to journalists at a press conference for the second 46664 concert near the small Southern Cape province town of George, March 18, 2005. Annie Lennox, Queen with Paul Rodgers, Melua and India Arie are included in the line-up for the concert on Saturday, March 19. 46664 is an AIDS awareness campaign that takes it's name from Mandela's prison number during his 27 year incarceration. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Nelson Mandela, left, with Annie Lennox, centre, and Yusuf Islam  in London in 2004 for the launch of a book of photographs from the 46664 concert which took place in Cape Town in 2003. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP
Nelson Mandela, left, with Annie Lennox, centre, and Yusuf Islam in London in 2004 for the launch of a book of photographs from the 46664 concert which took place in Cape Town in 2003. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP
Nelson Mandela poses for photographers with singer Beyonce Knowles and other performers during a visit to Robben Island Prison near Cape Town on November 28, 2003. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Nelson Mandela poses for photographers with singer Beyonce Knowles and other performers during a visit to Robben Island Prison near Cape Town on November 28, 2003. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Naomi Campbell meets Madiba in 1998. Picture: Leon Muller
Naomi Campbell meets Madiba in 1998. Picture: Leon Muller
Nelson Mandela with Lennox Lewis at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela with Lennox Lewis at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
Fergie, of US group The Black Eyed Peas, posted this picture on Twitter, captioned: Meeting Nelson Mandela at his house in Johannesburg was a truly memorable moment in life for me. He was an angel.
Fergie, of US group The Black Eyed Peas, posted this picture on Twitter, captioned: Meeting Nelson Mandela at his house in Johannesburg was a truly memorable moment in life for me. He was an angel.
Irish rock star Bono with former South African President Nelson Mandela after meeting at Mandela's residence at Houghton in Johannesburg on May 25, 2002. Photo: Juda Ngwenya/AP
Irish rock star Bono with former South African President Nelson Mandela after meeting at Mandela's residence at Houghton in Johannesburg on May 25, 2002. Photo: Juda Ngwenya/AP

Former South African president Nelson Mandela is hailed as a political icon and inspirational human being, who in many ways was a celebrity in his own right.

His widely acknowledged humility and warmth seemed to draw out the beaming child in even the most celebrated of entertainerers, and brought some to tears.