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Nelson Mandela draws tributes on YouTube, Twitter

Nelson MandelaBBC

The world turned to social media to mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, the statesman who emerged from 27 years in prison to lead South Africa out of apartheid.

Mandela's death produced more than 3 million tweets in the first two hours after news outlets around the globe reported that the former South African president had died, according to measurement firm Topsy.

Google searches for news about Mandela spiked by 400%, as word spread of Mandela's death at age 95, according to the site's trend data.

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Video tributes posted on YouTube -- some of which had been uploaded months earlier, as Mandela's health failed --  drew fresh words of appreciation and grief.

A 21-minute video of Mandela's 1988 speech at Harvard University attracted renewed interest on YouTube, with one commenter, identified only as Science Life NY, recalling attending the world leader's presentation as a freshman.

"Thank you so much for showing both how strong and forgiving people can be."

FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

A 13-minute video biography of Mandela has been viewed more than 400,000 views since it was originally posted in 2010 -- and brought multiple new comments, offering tribute to his life and regret at his passing.  The same is true of a BBC broadcast, documenting Mandela's release from prison in 1990, that has been watched more than 675,000 times.

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