He dies. ( On the TV screen I saw. "Mandela dies at 94 " ) He died. ( On another canal simultaneously it was written " Mandela died at 94. ") She / he has died vs he died vs he dies When they want to say someone just died they use all forms above in the first day of his or her death. It is confusing.
Mandela dies at 94.
This is a particular form of communication used in reporting the news. It is not used in normal speech; in fact, one might read the article's title, look at a person, and say, Mandela died!
It probably came about as a result of desiring to avoid the abruptness of saying someone was dead. This sensibility is fading, however, which is why, on another channel, you heard:
Mandela died at 94.
Mandela dead at 94.
It is also used in moment-to-moment reports:
10 p.m.: Housekeeper walks past X's bedroom door and sees her alive...
10:30 p.m.: Housekeeper cannot awaken X, calls publicist...
10:35 p.m.: X's publicist hurriedly leaves a concert...
10:45 - 11:00: X dies.
11:15: X found dead by publicist, calls so-and-so.