80,000 People, 90 World Leaders Attend One of the Largest Funerals in History

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | December 9, 2013 7:51 PM EST

Nelson Mandela's funeral on 15 December, which will reportedly be larger than that of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II combined, could be attended by at least 60 world leaders, the South African government has said. In the memorial service held in Tuesday, there were over 90 current head of states. 

Click here for the list of world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities who were present for the event. 

The funeral of one of the most admired leaders of the world will take place in Mandela's ancestral homeland of Qunu in the Eastern Cape. About 80,000 people are expected to attend what has been referred to as one of the biggest memorial servies in history, that took place Tuesday (10 December) at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

Former US presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and their wives were among many people who attended Tuesday's event.

Prince Charles of Britain will represent UK at Sunday's state funeral, while Prime Minister David Cameron attended the main memorial service on Tuesday.

Among hosts of leaders who flew to South Africa are leaders of France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Spain, Brazil and others. President Pranab Mukharjee represented India for the event.

Congress president, Sonia Gandhi had informed the ministry of external affairs that she would represent Congress party to pay homage to the world leader who died on 5 December. Reports from India have suggested that while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keen to attend the funeral, his work in the parliament and the impending visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai held him back.

Among the world celebrities, Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Sir Richard Branson were there to pay their personal tributes to the man whom they considered a 'hero' and a messenger of world peace. 

On Monday, a special joint session of parliament was held in Cape Town, to let politicians from the whole of South Africa mark the passing of the country's first black president and the fighter against apartheid.

After monday's parliament event, the focus shifted back to Johannesburg on Tuesday, where a huge memorial service happened at the FNB Stadium, the place where Mandela appeared for his last public outing ahead of the 2010 World Cup Final.

Wednesday (11 December) onwards, Mandela's body will "lie in state" at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he officiated as the president of South Africa from 1994 till 1999.

A funeral cortege that will carry his body will pass through the capital Cape Town every day until Friday, for which Africans have been asked to make long lines to form the guard of honour. 

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