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Michael Jackson, Beyonce and More: Lucky Musicians Who Called Nelson Mandela a Friend

As the world reacts to the news of the South African activist's death, take a look through a few photos of Mandela and his musical allies

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Michael Jackson

(FILES) US pop star and entertainer Michael Jackson (R) poses with Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela (L) in Kwazulu-Natal on
AFP/Getty Images

Not only was Nelson Mandela the first black president of South Africa, but he was also widely regarded as one of the most important philanthropists and revolutionaries in modern history. Throughout his life, the politician's impact on music and culture was also remarkable.

Mandela died Thursday at 95. "We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.

To honor the leader, we take a look at some famous musicians Mandela called friends.

Above, Mandela is pictured with Michael Jackson. The two icons had a very close relationship. After his death in 2009, Mandela wrote about Jackson, "We became fond of him and he became a close member of our family. We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on some many occasion in his life... He will be missed and memories cherished of him for a long time."

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Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, Brian May and Yusef Islam

Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela, Brian May, Annie Lennox and Yusuf Islam (Photo by Goffredo di Crollalanza/FilmMagic)
Goffredo di Crollalanza/FilmMagic

In 2005, Peter Gabriel, Brian May, Annie Lennox and Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) met the leader when they were in South Africa to take part in Mandela's 46664 AIDS charity concerts.

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The Black Eyed Peas

South African former president Nelson Mandela (C) poses for a picture with members of the Black Eyed Peas band from L to R: F
Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

The Black Eyed Peas visited Nelson Mandela's office in 2006 when they were in South Africa performing a benefit concert for Johannesburg's underprivileged. Fergie tweeted upon his passing, "Meeting Nelson Mandela at his house in Johannesburg was a truly memorable moment in life for me. He was an angel."

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Elton John

LONDON - JUNE 25: Sir Elton John, Lily Safra and Nelson Mandela attend the dinner in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrating hi
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Elton John was invited to a dinner in London to honor the politician on his 90th birthday in 2008. "Your voices carried across the water to inspire us in our prison cells far away," Mandela said about the night's performers. "But even as we celebrate, let us remind ourselves that our work is far from complete."

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Nelson Mandela and Beyonce (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)
Jon Furniss/WireImage

Nelson Mandela and Beyonce exchanged a kiss at the 46664 benefit concert in Cape Town in 2003. The pop star wrote on Instagram, "Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace. God Bless."

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