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Prayers, Well Wishes For Hospitalized Peace Icon Mandela

Churches across South Africa prayed for ailing former president Nelson Mandela Sunday, as he spent a second day in the hospital for treatment for a recurring lung infection.

Worshippers across the country prayed for the recovery of the former president, who is seen by many South Africans as the father of their nation.

Authorities provided no updates on Mr. Mandela's condition, which was earlier described as "serious but stable." Members of his family were seen visiting him Sunday at the Pretoria hospital where he is believed to be staying.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon was admitted to the hospital Saturday. It is the fourth time Mr. Mandela has been hospitalized since December.

A friend of the elder leader, Andrew Mlangeni, told the Sunday Times newspaper that the internationally admired statesman may not be well again, and he urged family members to "release him." Mlangeni said "once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow."

Mr. Mandela has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under South Africa's apartheid system.

He was released in 1990 and went on to serve as president after his African National Congress party won the 1994 democratic election.

Mr. Mandela has rarely been seen in public in recent years, as his health has become more fragile.