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Celebrities pray for Nelson Mandela

26 June 2013
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Celebrities around the world, from David Beckham to Hillary Clinton, are praying for Nelson Mandela as the anti-apartheid icon remains critically ill in hospital. David has been at the forefront of a campaign to cement the former President of South Africa's legacy, and now could be a fitting time to fully promote it. "This is an important time to bring Nelson Mandela's official legacy to life," he said in a post on Facebook, sharing a Nelson Mandela Day pledge.

© Photo: Getty Images

"Show your support now. Join millions of us growing his legacy for good at #MandelaDayPledgePlease share your pledge to make this a better world – we can make it happen..." David will most likely be taking part in this pledge, which sees each participant giving 67 minutes of their time on 18 July, the former President's birthday, in recognition of his 67 years of public service. The footballer, who has called Nelson a "father figure for South Africa" in the past, met the inspirational leader in 2003 when he was England captain. "It's great to be here today," said David, seated next to him at a friendly match against South Africa and presenting him with an England football shirt. "It's an amazing honour for all of us."

© Photo: Getty Images

Other celebrities have flooded Twitter to share their support for the critically-ill 94-year-old leader. "Bill, Chelsea & I have sent our love and prayers to our great friend, Madiba, his family and his nation during this difficult time," tweeted Hillary Clinton. Madiba refers to Nelson's clan name, and has been used by other celebrities on the social media site. "My thoughts and prayers are with our father Madiba, one of the greatest men in the world. God Bless you Madiba," posted Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton. Rihanna also showed her support, tweeting, "Nelson of the most incredible men to ever walk this earth!!! Sending prayers up to the Heavens for you! #AngelOnEarth".

© Photo: Getty Images

A collection of flowers, cards and balloons have been building up outside the Pretoria Heart Hospital where Nelson is being treated, and one hundred white doves were released on Tuesday to signify his quest for South Africa's freedom. The beloved leader was admitted with a lung infection on 8 June but his condition is feared to have turned for the worst. His wife Graca Machel has been keeping a constant vigil at his bedside, and on Sunday was joined by other members of his family including his former wife Winnie, daughter Makaziwe and granddaughter Ndileka. His other granddaughters, Swato Diamini and Zaziwe Diamini-Manaway, called on their country to pray for him. "Let us never forget to pray," they wrote on Twitter. "God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us but cares for us."

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