Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called Nelson Mandela “one of history's most important figures,” following news Thursday that the former South African president had died.

“The world has lost one of history’s most important figures, though Nelson Mandela’s example will live on for generations to come,” Rubio said. “Men and women striving for justice and fairness around the world have drawn inspiration from Nelson Mandela, and he showed South Africans and the entire world what the power of forgiveness truly means and can accomplish.

“My wife Jeanette and I send our condolences to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa,” Rubio said.