Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela and former anti-apartheid activist, has died at the age of 81.

“The Mother of the Nation,” has been battling ill health for many years, but has finally returned home. The news was confirmed by her personal assistant‚ Zodwa Zwane.

“It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa on Monday, April 2‚ 2018,” Madikizela-Mandela’s family said in a statement. “She died after a long illness‚ for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela fought tirelessly against the apartheid regime while her husband was wrongly imprisoned for 27 years. She campaigned for his release and the rights of Black South Africans and was arrested continuously and harassed by the South African police. Though credit is often given to her former late husband Nelson Mandela – the ending of segregation in South Africa owes much to Winnie.

Rest In Power, Winnie!