Aus minister apologises for saying Mandela 'dead'
Gray expressed his apologies to South Africa's envoy for the goof-up, AAP news agency
"I apologise unreservedly and am deeply sorry to have relayed what I thought was reliable advice," he said.
Gray made the mistake last night when addressing the Minerals Council of Australia's annual official dinner in place of ousted Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Gray said he had relayed his apology to the high commissioner.
Gray's comments came after rumours of Mandela's death circulated on Twitter.
The 94-year-old former South African President was hospitalised with a recurring lung infection, three weeks ago