— Former South African president Nelson Mandela has been discharged from a Pretoria hospital after being treated for pneumonia. An official from the president’s office says the anti-apartheid icon will get constant medical supervision.
Nelson Mandela spent nine nights in the hospital for this last episode, before being discharged Saturday.
Officials said he was admitted suddenly after suffering a recurrence of a lung infection. He was treated for pneumonia, and President Jacob Zuma visited him earlier this week and said he had made steady improvement.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela will now get round-the-clock care at home. Like many South Africans, he referred to Mandela by his clan name, Madiba.
"We are delighted to inform you that the former president, Nelson Mandela, has been discharged from hospital today, the 6th of April, following sustained and gradual improvement in his general condition," he said. "The former president will now receive home-based high care. President Zuma thanks the hard-working medical team and the hospital staff for looking after Madiba so efficiently. He also extends his gratitude to all South Africans and friends of the republic in Africa and around the world, for all of their support."
Officials have noted that the 94-year-old icon has become increasingly frail. He is known to suffer from a variety of ailments - some of them contracted during his nearly three decades in prison.
But Maharaj said Mandela’s legendary spirit was undaunted by this last hospital stay.
"From the time he was hospitalized he was fully conscious, aware, talking. He said that he was in discomfort, there was an infection that had to be treated. And he had developed a pleural effusion which had to be tapped, but that did not stop his spirit from being conscious at all times," said Maharaj.
Mandela had also been in the hospital earlier in March. He spent 18 days in a hospital for a lung infection and gallstones in December. Before that, he was previously 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 fighting racist white 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 increasingly few public appearances in the last few years. He retired from public life in 2004.
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.