You lived a full and important life‚ says Idris Elba on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Image: SUPPLIED

British actor Idris Elba has joined millions of people across the world in paying tribute to struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Madikizela-Mandela's spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the anti-apartheid activist had died in a Johannesburg hospital surrounded by loved ones.

She had been in and out of hospital for much of the year and was 81-years-old.

Elba‚ who played Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‚ received Ma Winnie's blessing for the flick. The two were seen embracing at the world premiere of the flick in Johannesburg in 2013.

The actor said it was a massive honour to portray Mandela.

"I tried to pay special attention to the characteristics that make (Nelson Mandela) who he is‚ especially his presence. That's something that is hard to capture and I think I did a good job‚ I don't know."

In remembering Mama Winnie after news of her death spread‚ Elba said she lived a "full and important life."

There will be a state funeral for Ma Winnie on April 14.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela‚ a stalwart in the fight against apartheid‚ died on Monday April 2 2018 in Johannesburg at the age of 81 following a “long illness”, her family said.

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