— Former South African president Nelson Mandela was suddenly taken to a hospital for the second time this month, this time for a recurrence of a lung infection. Officials say he is in good hands, but the hospitalization is raising fears about the health of the 94-year old anti-apartheid icon.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj provided details on Mr. Mandela's condition.
“Former President Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital just before midnight last night, the 27th of March, due to a recurrence of his lung infection," he said. "Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that the has the best possible expert treatment and is kept comfortable.”
Maharaj urged South Africans to pray for the former South African leader, who has become increasingly frail and is known to suffer from a variety of ailents.
Mandela visited a hospital just 20 days ago for what was termed a "scheduled medical checkup."
He also spent 18 days in a hospital for a lung infection and gallstones in December. Before that, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in January 2011 for an acute respiratory infection. He also tested positive for tuberculosis in 1988, during his 27-year imprisonment for opposing white minority rule.
Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping bring an end to apartheid. He stepped down from the presidency in 1999.
Mandela has made few public appearances in the last few years. He retired from public life in 2004.