LONDON (AFP) - World leaders on Wednesday hailed Edward Kennedy as a great American and praised his tireless campaigning for peace and social welfare following his death. Senator Edward Kennedy will be mourned not just in America but in every continent, Britains Prime Minister Gordon Brown said. Browns predecessor Tony Blair praised Kennedys passionate commitment to the peace process. Ted hailed from a most famous Irish-American family, and through his own endeavours and achievement, he has added further lustre to the reputation of a great family, said Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen. America has lost a great and respected statesman and Ireland has lost a long-standing and true friend, he said. The office of Nelson Mandela, South Africas first black president, said in a statement, We mourn, with his family, and the United States of America, the loss of a champion of democracy and civil rights, it added. In a message of condolence to Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Kennedy as an extraordinary personality in American politics who had demonstrated a firm and resolute commitment to peace and justice. Italys Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi praised Kennedy as a role model for politicians while French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Kennedy had led a dogged fight for democracy, social justice, civil rights and peace. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was deeply saddened by Kennedys death, recalling how they spoken of prospects for peace in his war-torn nation at a meeting in the senators Boston stronghold in 2005. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his way into talks in London with the US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, lauded Kennedy as a great friend of the Jewish state. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hailed Kennedy as a great American, a great Democrat and also a great friend of Australia.