Nelson Mandela Death Rocks Royal Film Premiere in London

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By Riza Ornos | December 6, 2013 2:37 PM EST

Just in time for the premiere of his biographical film in London, the news of Nelson Mandela's death broke and rocked the Royal premiere. Prince William together with his wife Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was informed of Mandela's death while the film was being screened at the Odeon Leicester Square.

According to the royal reporter, Richard Palmer on London's Daily Express, the couple left the event "ashen faced" after the news broke.

"We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," stated Prince William before leaving, adding, "It's very sad."

Mandela's daughter, Zindzi Mandela was also in attendance during the London premiere and was overcome with emotion while watching her father's film. Before she heard the news, Zindzi told the Daily Mail: "It's something that makes me feel really proud, what my family went through and the role my father played has been recognized. It is a reward [for him]."

Also in attendance was the current South African President Jacob Zuma, he was the one who announced the news as the movie ended. The announcement left the audience stunned and bereaved for the death of an icon. Edris Elba, who plays Mandela in the film, was one of the stunned audiences during the announcement.

He left the event with a short statement: "What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The man behind "Mandela" Harvey Weinstein of Weinstein Company was also in the Royal Premiere. Harvey released a statement saying: "One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela's story and legacy. It's been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history's greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation."

The Oscar-buzzing film "Mandela: Long Walk of Freedom" is directed by Justin Chadwick and had been written by William Nicholson. The movie was based on the 1994 book Long Walk to Freedom by Mandela himself. It was released on November 29. Ironically, a week after its release, Mandela died at the age of 95.

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