South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela remains in "serious but stable" condition as he spends a third day in a Pretoria hospital getting treatment for a recurring lung infection.
President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement Monday that Mr. Mandela's health is unchanged from when he was admitted to the hospital on Saturday.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon has been hospitalized four times since December.
On Sunday, worshippers across the country prayed for the recovery of Mr. Mandela, who is seen by many South Africans as the father of their nation.
A friend of the elder leader, Andrew Mlangeni, told the Sunday Times newspaper that the internationally admired statesman may not be well again, and he urged family members to "release him." Mlangeni said "once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow."
Mr. Mandela has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under South Africa's apartheid system.
He was released in 1990 and went on to serve as president after his African National Congress party won the 1994 democratic election.
Mr. Mandela has rarely been seen in public in recent years, as his health has become more fragile.