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Mandela Responding to Treatment

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 is reported to be improving after being hospitalized for a lung infection.

A statement from President Jacob Zuma's office says that according to doctors, Mandela is "responding positively" to treatment. It says he remains under treatment and under observation.

Mandela was taken to an unidentified hospital late Wednesday with a recurrence of the infection that put him in the hospital for three weeks in December. During that stay, he also had surgery to remove gallstones.

Zuma on Thursday wished the 94-year-old Nobel Peace laureate a quick recovery, and expressed confidence in Mandela's medical team.

Mandela spent nearly three decades in prison for opposing apartheid in South Africa and became a symbol of the nation's peaceful transition to a democratic government after decades of suppression by the white minority. He became South Africa's first black president in 1994.