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      Nelson Mandela dies: Leader wasn't on life support at time of passing

      Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. Photo: Associated Press

      JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A close family friend who visited Nelson Mandela in his last hours says he wasn't on life support, appeared to be calmly sleeping and that it was obvious he was "giving up" in what would be his last struggle.

      Bantu Holomisa, who has known Mandela since his liberation from prison in 1990, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he had been called to Mandela's house by the family on Thursday because of Mandela's deteriorating condition. When he arrived, about 20 Mandela family members were gathered there.

      Holomisa said: "I've seen people who are on their last hours and I could sense that he is now giving up."

      Mandela died about two hours later at age 95.