Minister sorry for 'Mandela's dead' statement

00:39, Jun 27 2013
Gary Gray
APOLOGY: Gary Gray.

An Australian minister has apologised to South Africa's high commissioner for relaying wrong advice that South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela had died.

"I apologise unreservedly and am deeply sorry to have relayed what I thought was reliable advice," Labor minister Gary Gray said.

Gray made the mistake last night when addressing the Minerals Council of Australia's annual official dinner in place of Julia Gillard.

The resources minister said he had relayed his apology to the high commissioner.

Mandela, 94, is on life support in a Pretoria hospital.

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AAP