African leaders are mourning Pope John Paul, while praising his teachings and his leadership in the significant growth of the church on the African continent.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki said the pontiff's guidance would continue to inspire people of all faiths and that he had strengthened the moral fiber of the world.
Mr. Mbeki thanked John Paul for his support in the development and rebirth of Africa.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo praised the pope for advocating religious tolerance and remembered his unwavering support for democracy while Nigeria fought against dictatorship in the 1990s. Nigeria has 20 million Catholics, the most of any African nation.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze has been mentioned as a possible successor as pope, although analysts say there is no clear cut favorite.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.