William and Kate pay tribute to 'extraordinary and inspiring' Nelson Mandela

Upon hearing the news of Nelson Mandela's death at the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Prince William and Kate Middleton released a statement paying tribute to the "extraordinary and inspiring man".

The Duke of Cambridge described the South African freedom fighter's passing as "extremely sad and tragic news" adding that their "thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

William and Kate had walked the red carpet at the London premiere of the upcoming film just hours before news of the 95-year-old's death broke.

The couple met one of his daughters Zindzi Mandela at a reception prior to the screening.

The film, which was made with the full support of the global statesman, tells his extraordinary life story from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of the African nation.

Tributes poured in from around the world when news of the anti-apartheid icon's death broke.

President Obama remembered him as "a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice."

"A great light has gone out in the world," David Cameron wrote on Twitter. "Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I've asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast."