Former South African president Nelson Mandela is in “serious but stable” condition after being rushed to the hospital on Saturday, the presidency said.
The 94-year-old was taken to hospital in Pretoria for a recurrence of a lung infection after his condition deteriorated around 1:30 am (2330 GMT Friday), according to a statement from President Jacob Zuma.
“The situation is serious this time but doctors have assured us he is comfortable,” Mac Maharaj, the presidential spokesman, told local broadcaster eNCA.
The statement from Mr. Zuma’s office said that Mr. Mandela “is receiving expert medical care and doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable.” The anti-apartheid icon, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, was receiving home care in Johannesburg after ending a 10-day hospital treatment for pneumonia in April.
In December, he spent 18 days in hospital, where he underwent gallstone surgery and received treatment for the recurring respiratory infection.
It was Mr. Mandela’s longest stay in hospital since he was released from prison in 1990 after 27 years behind bars for his role in the struggle against white minority rule.
Mr. Mandela was elected as South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served one term before stepping down. He remains widely revered both in his country and globally for promoting racial reconciliation after decades of apartheid and colonialism.
His lungs were damaged during his lengthy prison time, in part due to hard labour on quarries.