Mandela Hospitalized for Third Day Due to Lung Infection

Former South African President Nelson Mandela remained in a Pretoria hospital for a third day for treatment of a lung infection after being admitted for a fourth time since December.

“Former President Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged,” the Presidency said in an e-mail. The statement was the first official comment on Mandela’s health since June 8, when President Jacob Zuma’s office said his condition was “serious but stable.”

Mandela, 94, was treated in the hospital in April for pneumonia and had to have fluid drained from around his lungs. He also had gallstones removed earlier this year.

Mandela served for five years as South Africa’s first black president after his African National Congress party won all-race elections that ended apartheid in 1994. He spent 27 years in prison, most of it on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where he contracted tuberculosis. Also known by his clan name, Madiba, Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

“President Jacob Zuma reiterates his call for South Africa to pray for Madiba and the family during this time,” the Presidency said.

Fellow Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu also expressed his support for Mandela as he endures “the ravages of time in hospital,” according to an e-mailed statement from his foundation.

“We offer our thanks to God for the extraordinary gift of Mr Mandela, and wish his family strength,” Tutu’s foundation said.

African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, a former South African government minister and Zuma’s ex-wife, said “it gives me great comfort to hear that he is also responding positively to treatment,” according to an e-mailed statement today.

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