Brazil's Rousseff, ex-leaders off to Mandela memorial

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, accompanied some of her predecessors, flew off to South Africa Monday to attend the memorial service for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

The presidential office said Rousseff was accompanied by ex-presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002), Fernando Collor de Mello (1990-1992) and Jose Sarney (1985-1990).

"It is an honor to be able to gather all the former presidents for a common objective: Mandela," the president said on her Twitter account.

More than 100 heads of state and government -- current and past -- as well as scores of celebrities and heads of international organizations had by Monday confirmed their presence at Tuesday's memorial ceremony for South Africa's ex-president Mandela, who died last week aged 95.

The service will be held in the FNB stadium in Soweto.

Brazil, a member of the BRICS group of emerging powers along with China, India, Russia and South Africa, has decreed seven days of mourning in honor of Mandela.