BROOKLYN - The loss of Nelson Mandela is being felt with heavy hearts around the world.

The former South African president passed away Thursday at the age of 95 after a long struggle with a chronic respiratory illness.

Mandela led the country from 1994 to 1999, becoming much more than just a political leader. He had emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa. His death now closes the final chapter in the country's struggle to cast off apartheid, a form of strict, racial segregation.

His legacy will now live on right in Brooklyn. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that the Boys and Girls High School campus on Fulton Street, which was visited by Mandela back in 1990, will be named in his honor.

A memorial is also growing outside a popular restaurant in Fort Greene, which was named Madiba after Mandela's South African clan name. Patrons and staff say they'll never forget the anti-apartheid activist and his selfless fight for justice.

"He achieved more than could be expected of any man, and today he's gone home," President Barack Obama said following the announcement of his death. "We've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages."

New York Congressman Charlie Rangel knew Mandela and said he greatly admired the United States, and never held a grudge over the country's initial reluctance to take a stand against South African's apartheid regime.

Plans are already being made for Mandela's final farewell. A White House official has told sources that plans are in the works for Obama to travel to South Africa for a memorial service. His funeral is set for Dec. 15.