JOHANNESBURG -- In their first statement since his death, Nelson Mandela's family says they've "lost a great man, a son of the soil."
Lt. Gen. Temba Templeton Matanzima, a spokesman for the Mandela family, read the statement to journalists Saturday in Johannesburg.
The statement said: "The pillar of the royal Mandela family is no more with us physically, but his spirit is still with us."
The statement went on: "We have lost a great man, a son of the soil whose greatness in our family was in the simplicity of his nature in our midst -- a caring family leader who made time for all and on that score we will miss him dearly."
Mandela died Thursday at age 95.