US Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has issued a statement about the passing of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and civil rights activist who died on Thursday, Dec. 5.

"A bright light in the world has gone out," Landrieu said in her statement. "But millions of candles of courage and hope have been lit by his remarkable life that will continue to burn bright for generations to come.”

Mandela led a remarkable life. The activist spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid efforts. Following his release, he was elected president of South Africa in 1994 -- the first black South African to do so.

Mandela also dedicated his life to fight against HIV/AIDS and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work toward ending apartheid.