Nelson Mandela back in hospital with 'serious' lung infection

 

Nelson Mandela has been admitted to hospital in a “serious but stable” condition as a result of a lung infection.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader has had recurring problems with his lungs since he contracted tuberculosis during his time as a political prisoner.

A statement issued by the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had been ill for the past few days, but he was transferred to a hospital in Pretoria overnight when his condition deteriorated.

It said Mr Mandela is receiving expert care and “doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable”.

The President wished Mr Mandela a speedy recovery and asked for the media and the public to respect his privacy. Mac Maharaj, the President’s spokesman, told the BBC that Mr Mandela is in “good spirits”, adding: “He is a fighter and he will be with us as long as he is there fighting.”

However, African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu told Sky News that his party was “prepared for the worst” and urged “all people of world to pray for his recovery.”

According to Mr Maharaj, Mandela’s family members are by his side in hospital.

“Naturally the immediate members of the family have access to him and it’s always good for the patient that he has been accompanied by one or other of them, and that has happened,” he said.

Nelson Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, cancelled an appearance at a hunger summit this weekend to fly back to South Africa. Ms Machel was due to address the Nutrition for Growth meeting in London this afternoon.

But her name was removed from the provisional list of speakers this morning with organisers saying she had to cancel "for personal reasons".

Mr Mandela, who was imprisoned by the racist white regime for 27 years, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. A year later, he became president in South Africa’s all-race elections.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his support to Mr Mandela, saying: “My thoughts are with Nelson Mandela, who is in hospital in South Africa.”

The anti-apartheid leader became president in South Africa's all-race elections in 1994. Mr Maharaj said he first developed his lung condition many years ago when he was incarcerated in prison, and that it is a problem that "comes and goes".

"It gets treated and he gets better," Mr Maharaj said. "He's prone to lung infection. There's a long history behind that.

"He's suffered from lung infection at different times. The first time we came across it was years ago when he was in prison."

Mr Maharaj added that there was no suggestion that Mr Mandela was unconscious.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific