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Fatima Meer, biographer and fried of Mandela, dies

Fatima Meer, a friend and biographer of Nelson Mandela, has died. She was 81.

The South African Press Association quoted a local politician and family friend, Logie Naidoo, as saying Meer died in a Durban hospital Friday. The cause of death was not given.

In a statement, Achmat Dangor, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said Meer had "been a close friend of Mr. Mandela and his family for more than 60 years, was an academic and a stalwart of the struggle against apartheid."

Meer's Mandela biography was titled "Higher than Hope."

Graca Machel, Mandela's wife, said in a statement that Meer's death "is a great loss to the nation because she has contributed immeasurably to the struggle against apartheid."

- AP

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