The former South African president made headlines today, as he entered into a critical state at a South African hospital due to a recurring lung infection. Current South African president, Jacob Zuma thanked all those who sent their condolences. Although he maintains Mandela has not fallen into a coma, he states his condition remains dire.
Nelson Mandela became an active member of the African National Congress youth league in 1942. For two decades, he helped stage boycotts and peaceful protests to undermine the apartheid regime of South Africa.
In 1961 he orchestrated a nation wide workers' strike, which lead to his imprisonment under charges of treason. Mandela remained in prison for the next 27 years, until local and international pressures forced his release in 1982.
After becoming the president of the African National Congress in 1991, Mandela worked with South African president Willem de Klerk towards the slow dismantlement of apartheid. In 1993 they achieved this end and shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. The following year, South Africa elected Mandela to be the first black president in its history.
-  http://www.biography.com/people/nelson-mandela-9397017