Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh has declared three-day national mourning from Saturday to pay homage to South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

"Bangladesh will observe three-day national mourning from December 7 to December 9 to show respect to Mandela, an anti-apartheid icon and true friend of Bangladesh," an official statement said in Dhaka on Friday.

During the period, the national flags will be flown at half- mast at all buildings of government, semi-government, autonomous bodies, educational institutes and all Bangladesh missions abroad.

Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, died late Thursday (South Africa time) at the age of 95. 

South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference, saying “We’ve lost our greatest son.”

BBN/SSR/AD-06Dec13-9:40 pm (BST)