Mandela Breathes Without Difficulty on Third Day in Hospital

Nelson Mandela is able to breathe “without difficulty” after a procedure was performed to drain excess fluid from around his lungs, according to a spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma.

The nation’s first black president remains in the hospital for a third day in Pretoria, the capital, being treated for pneumonia, Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said in an e-mailed statement. “He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable,” Maharaj said.

Mandela, 94, was admitted before midnight local time on March 27, his second hospital visit this year after a check-up less than three weeks ago. His health took a “downturn” that day and he was brought to the hospital to prevent the infection from spreading, Maharaj told Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA March 28.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was hospitalized from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26 to treat a lung infection and to have gallstones removed. He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned on Robben Island during his 27-year incarceration for fighting white minority rule. Mandela led South Africa for five years after the African National Congress, or ANC, won the first all-race elections in 1994 that marked the end of apartheid rule.

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