Prince William Learned of Nelson Mandela's Death at a Screening of the South African Leader's Biopic

After watching Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the prince shared kind words about the freedom fighter

After news broke that anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday night, people around the world have been mourning the extraordinary leader.

Mandela's death has deeply touched many -- including Prince William. At a screening for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the 2013 Royal Film Performance in London, William, along with Kate Middleton and the other audience members, were told by one the movie's producers that Mandela had just passed away. Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the movie, was standing next to him during the annoucement.

A source told E! Online that "Elba was in tears. Everyone was stunned; it was quite eerie. It felt surreal. It really was extraordinarily eerie."

The producer then asked for a moment of silence.

As he was leaving the screening, Prince William -- whose mother Princess Diana was friends with Mandela -- left a few kind remarks about the Nobel Peace Prize-winning freedom fighter. Take a look:

In an interview with Nightline, Elba spoke about what it was like to play such an extraordinary man. "I felt the responsibility to be truthful," he said.

And how did Mandela react to Elba's performance? "When you have Mr. Mandela, the great himself, looking at an image of me and saying, 'Is that me?' -- that's it. I've won," Elba said. "I've won every possible award you can give, because it's coming from the heart of the man who actually lived it."

Ishaw (pronounced eye-shah) Thorpe is an iVillage contributing writer. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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