The former president of South Africa, who memorably handed over the Rugby World Cup to the national team after their Final victory on home turf in 1995, saw sport as a way of bringing people together and changing the world for the better.
One of his memorable quotes stated that "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people, in a way that little else does".
His presence at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa did so much for the profile of the worldwide game and he remained a big supporter of the game.
Throughout his life Mandela showed that, where there is hope, nothing is impossible and he provided the inspiration that one man can change the world in which we live.
As a mark of respect, ERC has requested that all clubs playing in this weekend's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Round 3 matches observe a minute's silence prior to kick-off and this will be observed at Welford Road. Please arrive in your places in the stadium in good time ahead of kick-off.