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Usain Bolt’s tribute: The world’s greatest fighter

Tributes poured in from all corners of the globe on Friday, as the world of sport remembered the legend that was Nelson Mandela. Australia and England observed a minute’s silence before the second day’s play of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, a scene replicated by New Zealand and the West Indies in Dunedin. Here are some of the tributes:

Muhammad Ali (in a statement released by Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky): “What I will remember most about Mr Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge.

“He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale. He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically… He made us realize, we are our brother’s keeper and that our brothers come in all colors.”

David Beckham: (On Facebook) My heart goes out to the people in South Africa and Mr Mandela’s family. We have lost a true gentleman and a courageous human being.

It was truly an honour to have known a man who had genuine love for so many people. Rest in peace.

Usain Bolt: (On Twitter) “One of the greatest human beings ever... The world’s greatest fighter.”

Jean de Villiers (Springboks captain): His presence at a Test match just lifted the crowd and energised the team - it is actually hard to describe.

Ernie Els: It is a very sad day… We have lost one of the iconic leaders of our time. You cannot say anything bad about the man. He fought for what he believed in, went to prison for so many years and came out to lead our country up until now. Every time I won a tournament he used to call me… He was just the most amazing person I have ever met.

Malcolm Fraser (Former Australian PM): His first remark to me, after hello, was ... ‘Mr. Fraser, is Donald Bradman still alive?”

Lewis Hamilton: (Posted a picture of himself with Mandela on his Facebook page) One of the most special moments in my life was meeting the great Madiba. One of the most inspirational human beings to have lived and without doubt the nicest man I ever met.

LeBron James: In his 95 years, he was able to do unbelievable things not only for South Africa but for the whole world.

Michael Owen: RIP Nelson Mandela. A tweet could never do justice to the greatness of the man.

Pele: (On Twitter) He was my hero, my friend.

Gerard Pique: (On Twitter) 2010 World Cup is in my heart. As other incredible things, it would never happened without Nelson Mandela. Thanks #Madiba

Cristiano Ronaldo: (On Twitter) Thankful Madiba for your legacy and your example. You’ll always stay with us.

Sachin Tendulkar: (On Twitter) When I met Mr Mandela it was one of the most memorable days of my life. A truly inspirational human being... He will live on in my heart forever. R.I.P.

Tiger Woods: (Recalling having lunch with Mandela in 1998) It was one of the most inspiring times I’ve ever had in my life. I don't think any of us probably here could have survived that and come out as humble and as dignified as he did. (Agencies)