As news of Nelson Mandela's death continued to spread, celebrities inspired by his life and heroic struggle to end apartheid in South Africa took to social media on Wednesday to honor his legacy and paid their respects to a man who truly changed the world.
Those who actually had the opportunity to meet Mandela — stars like Beyonce and Jay Z, John Legend and Fergie — immediately shared their photos on Instagram ... and, in a testament to the man's iconic stature, each admitted that they were honored just to be shaking hands with him.
Still others used Instagram to pay tribute to his words and his actions. Rihanna remembered Mandela as "one of the greatest men who's ever lived ... we will never forget the things this man has taught us, and we will never truly comprehend the level of strength that it took for him to endure."
And Ed Sheeran posted one of Mandela's most famous quotes about love overcoming hate:
President Obama, who eulogized Mandela as "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth" in a statement, also paid tribute on Twitter:
President Obama remembers Nelson Mandela: "A man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice."— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 5, 2013
And the tributes didn't stop there. From actresses Kerry Washington and Charlize Theron to journalists like Anderson Cooper and musicians like Q-Tip, LL Cool J and Moby, people from all walks of life honored Mandela's contributions to the world, and his legacy that will live on despite his passing.
RIP Nelson Mandela. God Bless You. http://t.co/yRZh3RrP7K— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) December 5, 2013
My thoughts and love go out to the Mandela family. Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever— Charlize Theron (@CharlizeAfrica) December 5, 2013
I remember Soweto. Election day 1994. Standing in line with elderly South Africans voting for the first time in their lives. #Mandela— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) December 5, 2013
A true fighter in every sense of the word... MANDELA!— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela. What a difference one person can make. #RestEternally— LL COOL J (@llcoolj) December 5, 2013
nelson mandela's life has inspired us all. we lost a remarkable, inspiring, courageous human being today.— moby (@thelittleidiot) December 5, 2013