Nelson Mandela is undergoing medical tests in South Africa, it was revealed yesterday, as the former South African president was admitted to hospital. A statement from President Jacob Zuma's office said Mr Mandela was "doing well and there is no cause for alarm".
Mr Mandela, aged 94, is in frail health and has not made public appearances since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The anti-apartheid icon was moved from his rural home to a Pretoria hospital yesterday. Rumours of his failing health flare up periodically, forcing the government to issue reassurances that all is well. His last period in hospital was in February, after he went in for a night for a minor exploratory procedure to investigate persistent abdominal pain.
Mr Mandela spent nearly three decades in prison for his fight against apartheid before becoming president in South Africa's first fully democratic vote in 1994.
He is believed to be undergoing tests in Pretoria's No 1 Military Hospital, where he was last seen by doctors in February. The hospital is the biggest of its kind in the region.
The former president is revered in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, and messages of goodwill and support have flooded in. Last month, he was said to be delighted after his image was printed on the country's bank notes for the first time. On his birthday last July, South Africans were encouraged to mark the day by volunteering 67 minutes of their time to honour his 67 years of political activism.
His stay in hospital came as it was revealed in a leaked report that, in 2005, Mr Mandela had given President Zuma £72,000 to help settle his debts.