SINGAPORE, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Singapore statesmen such as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Tony Tan and former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, paid tribute to South Africa's late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Friday.
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore and a member of Mandela's generation, sent his condolences to Mandela's wife Graca Machel, saying that Mandela was an inspiration to an entire generation.
"Nelson was an inspiration to an entire generation. Without him, South Africa would not be the democratic and multiracial nation that it is today," Lee Kuan Yew wrote.
"A charming and unassuming man, he will be remembered and missed by millions. My deepest condolences on his passing," he said in the letter.
President Tony Tan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister K Shanmugam all sent their condolences. Lee Hsien Loong said that Mandela has been "a historic leader for South Africa."
"He united a deeply divided country after many years of apartheid. He oversaw the peaceful reintegration of South Africa and propelled it onto the global stage," the Singapore prime minister said.
"His humanity, courage and lifelong fight for freedom and equality inspired millions around the world," he added.
He also wrote on his Facebook page, "Rest in peace, Mandela."
Shanmugam also paid tribute to Mandela, saying that he was "one of the greatest of men."
Goh Chok Tong, the second prime minister of the republic who is currently Emeritus Senior Minister, said Mandela was "a wise leader and a great human being."
Goh said that Mandela harbored no rancor, no bitterness, and that he loved people, regardless of their colors, and always had a smile, a laugh and a twinkle in his eyes.
Writing on his Facebook page, Goh said he is privileged to have met Mandela many times and to know him personally.
Profile: South Africa's ex-president, anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela
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