Nelson Mandela's family said they have "lost a great man, a son of the soil" in their first statement since his death.
A spokesman for the Mandela family read the statement to journalists in Johannesburg.
The statement said: "The pillar of the royal Mandela family is no more with us physically, but his spirit is still with us.
"We have lost a great man, a son of the soil whose greatness in our family was in the simplicity of his nature in our midst - a caring family leader who made time for all and on that score we will miss him dearly."
Mr Mandela died on Thursday at the age of 95.