A spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma said former President Nelson Mandela will begin to get home-based medical care following his release Wednesday from a Pretoria hospital, where he has been since December 8.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader underwent treatment for a lung infection and had surgery to remove gallstones.
President Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said Mandela’s discharge has brought immense relief to South Africans and well-wishers around the world.
“This [Wednesday] evening, South African time, former President Mandela was discharged from the hospital. He will now undergo home-based high care at his home in Johannesburg until he recovers fully,” he said.
Maharaj thanked the media and the public on behalf of the government and people of South Africa for their good wishes.
“As you know, Madiba [Nelson Mandela] is adored by millions and millions of people throughout the world, and everybody has been praying for him, kept him in their thoughts and willed him to get better. So, his discharge from hospital is a milestone in his recovery,” Maharaj said.
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid.
Butty interview with Maharaj
Maharaj said Mandela has grown frail, but remains in “good spirits.”
“As you know, he has had several ailments. In particular, he has not been able to walk easily. And, at his age, doctors have been very careful in dealing with his lung infection to make sure that it does not develop into [a] condition that is more serious. But, he’s looking well. Our president [Jacob Zuma] visited him yesterday [Tuesday] to wish him well for Christmas Day. He reported that Madiba was in high spirits,” Maharaj said.
Nelson Mandela smiles for photographers at his home in Johannesburg September 22, 2005.
Nelson Mandela and his then wife, Winnie, salute well-wishers as he leaves Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990.
This undated photograph shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie.
South African State President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela prior to talks, Cape Town, May 2, 1990.
Nelson Mandela, is seen as he gives the black power salute to 120,000 ANC supporters in Soweto's Soccer City stadium, Feb. 13, 1990.
Then-African National Congress President Nelson Mandela salutes the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley, South Africa, Feb. 25, 1994.
Nelson Mandela and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ride in a carriage outside Buckingham Palace on the first day of a state visit to Britain, July 9, 1996.
President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Prince Charles shake hands alongside members of the Spice Girls, Nov. 1, 1997.
Former U.S President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela speak during a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London, July 2, 2003.
Oscar winning South African actress Charlize Theron weeps at her meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, March 11,2004.
Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to the audience during a Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, July 2, 2005.
Nelson Mandela jokes with youngsters as they celebrate his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg, July 24, 2007.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela, center, followed by his grandson Mandla Mandela, rear right, arrives at the ceremony in Mvezo, South Africa, April 16, 2007.
Nelson Mandela waves to the media as he arrives outside 10 Downing Street, London, August 28, 2007.
Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
Nelson Mandela poses for a photograph after receiving a torch to celebrate the African National Congress' centenary in his home village Qunu, May 30, 2012.