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.
Children play ball in front of a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela in a park in Soweto, South Africa, March 31, 2013.
Visitors to Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg pass beneath a statue of the former president, April 1, 2013.
Painted stones with well-wishes for Nelson Mandela in the garden outside his house in Houghton, Johannesburg, March 28, 2013.
Nelson Mandela and his then wife, Winnie, salute well-wishers as he leaves Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990.
This undated photograph shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie.
South African State President Frederik Willem de Klerk, left, and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela, right, prior to talks between the ANC and the South African government, Cape Town, May 2, 1990.
ANC leader and symbol of resistance to apartheid, Nelson Mandela, is seen as he gives the black power salute to the 120,000 ANC supporters in Soweto's Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Feb. 13, 1990.
Nelson Mandela attends a rally in this 1993 photo.
President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Prince Charles shake hands alongside members of the Spice Girls' Emma (L), and Gerri (R) at Mr. Mandela's residence November 1, 1997.
The former South African president, left, and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to the audience during a Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 2, 2005.
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.
Mandela poses for a photograph after receiving a torch to celebrate the African National Congress' centenary in his home village, Qunu, in rural eastern South Africa, May 30, 2012.
School children read the history of former South African president Nelson Mandela written on a chalkboard, ahead of the opening of a container library by the Bill Clinton Foundation in celebration of Mandela Day, at a school in Qunu, July 17, 2012.
Children sing happy birthday in honor of former South African president Nelson Mandela during celebrations for Mandela's birthday in Mvezo, South Africa, July 18, 2012.