South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Mandela, South Africa’s first black First Lady, has died at the age of 81

Winnie Madikizela Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela. They were married in 1958, and she was with him when he became president in 1994. Mandela was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage at the notorious Robben Island. The famous couple were iconic figures in the fight to end the racist Apartheid system imposed on South Africa under white rule.

Winne Mandela was very politically active, and was once president of the African National Congress Women’s League.

“She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year,” said family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement. “She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”