Nelson Mandela, a lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, emerged from a 27-year prison term in 1990 and within four years became president of South Africa. He went on to become one of the most recognized faces in the world and force in the human rights movement and global effort to fight AIDS.
Mandela with his second wife, Winnie, during their wedding in 1958. They were married in 1958 and divorced in 1992, two years after his release from a 27-year prison term. The couple has two daughters.
Mandela, here in the early 1960s before being imprisoned for 27 years.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison, from 1962 to 1990. Here he is outside his former prison cell at a press conference for '46664 - Give One Minute of Your Life to AIDS' on Nov. 28, 2003, on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, receives Nelson Mandela's book by Mandela himself in 2006.
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron wipes away tears as she meets Mandela at Mandela House following her Academy Awards success, on March 11, 2004, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
President George W. Bush meets with Mandela, in the Oval Office of the White House in 2005. Mandela was on an official visit to the U.S., seeking support for the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust, which supports African-based charities.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma gave former President Nelson Mandela a gift for his 93rd birthday, as Mandela celebrated at his home in 2011.
Mandela and actor Will Smith during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Mandela's life, held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.
Nelson Mandela alongside his wife Graca Machel at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, during the 2010 World Cup closing ceremonies.
Mandela blows out the candles on his cake in honor of his 90th birthday, at the Loftus Stadium, on Aug. 2, 2008, in Pretoria, Gauteng.
Francois Pienaar of South Africa receives a trophy from President Mandela after the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand in 1995 in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa's victory was the basis of the 2009 movie "Invictus" with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
Mandela has met with world leaders and celebrities the world over in various activist roles. He became a fierce warrior in the battle against AIDS in Africa. Here he hugs singer Bono at the 46664 concert in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa. It was a benefit for the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the battle against AIDS.
Mandela attending the funeral of his granddaughter Zenani Mandela, at the St. Stithians College Chapel in Sandton. His granddaughter was killed in a car accident in June 2010.
To read about the world's 25 most powerful people, click here.