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South Africa's Nelson Mandela Hospitalized

Former President Nelson Mandela smiles as he formally announces his retirement from public life in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 1, 2004.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for treatment of a recurring lung infection. The iconic anti-apartheid leader has been taken to the hospital three times in the last five months.

Mac Maharaj, spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma gave this update.

"During the past few days former President Nelson Mandela has had a recurrence of lung infection," said Maharaj. "This was being treated at home, but in the early hours of this morning, at about 1:30 a.m. South African time his condition deteriorated and doctors came to the conclusion that it warranted immediate transfer to a hospital, which was done. They report this morning that his condition is serious, but stable. and he's receiving expert medical care. Doctors are doing everything possible to make him comfortable and get better."

Mandela is at an undisclosed Pretoria hospital.

The 94-year-old former president's lung problems date back to his 27-year imprisonment on Robben Island, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis near the end of his prison time.

Mandela has had more and more frequent health issues over the last few years. He was hospitalized in both 2011 and 2012, including a nearly three-week stay in the hospital in December with both gallstones and lung problems.

Maharaj says the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is not alone at the hospital.

"There are some members of his family with him, yes indeed, but again we are not going into the details, because it is always good for him to have somebody very close to him, it helps his recovery," said Maharaj.

Mandela's last public appearance came during the 2010 World Cup. Since then, he has been mostly home bound. His 95th birthday is July 18.