United Sates president Barack Obama who is expected to visit South Africa this Friday has described former South Africa president Nelson Mandela as a "personal hero"
Obama said his thoughts are with the citizens of South Africa as the global icon remains critically ill at the MEDICLINIC Heart Hospital
"He is a personal hero, but I'm not unique in that regard," Obama told CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin in Dakar, Senegal, the first stop of his African tour.
"I think he's a hero for the world and if/when he passes, we know his legacy will linger on throughout the ages," the president said.
Obama's visit to South Africa will include a visit to Robben Island, where Mandela spent a majority of his prison term. However the White House schedule does not include a visit with the anti-apartheid icon.
After South Africa, Obama heads to Tanzania, his last stop before he heads back to Washington.
According to the presidency Mandela's condition has improved overnight
This was said president Jacob Zuma in a statement after he visited Mandela in Hospital, he said Madiba's medical team told him the former president "remains critical but now stable."