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Nelson Mandela is in a "serious but stable condition"

Nelson Mandela is in a "serious but stable condition"

Avia Nossel with a get-well message outside Mandela's home

Avia Nossel with a get-well message outside Mandela's home

A worshipper weeps as she attends morning

A worshipper weeps as she attends morning

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Nelson Mandela is in a "serious but stable condition"

Nelson Mandela remained in hospital last night receiving treatment for a lung infection.

The 94-year-old former South African president was described as being in a "serious but stable condition", according to the office of the current President, Jacob Zuma.

Mr Mandela has a history of problems with the illness.

His wife, Graca Machel, cancelled an appearance at high profile hunger summit in London to be with her husband in South Africa.

Ms Machel, was due to address the Nutrition for Growth meeting in London at the weekend along with dozens of African leaders, non-govermental organisations and charities.

She was due to appear at the same time as key speakers Bill Gates and Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development.

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

Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for Mr Zuma's office, said: "During the past few days former president Nelson Mandela has had a recurrence of lung infection.

"His condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital. "He remains in a serious but stable condition.

"The former president is receiving expert medical care and doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable.

"President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of government and the nation, wishes Madiba a speedy recovery and requests the media and the public to respect the privacy of Madiba and his family."

He added that Mr Mandela's family were with him and had accompanied him to hospital.

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."

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

Hundreds gathered to pray for Mandela at Mass yesterday.

The South African Sunday Times newspaper took a sombre tone, with the headline "It's time to let him go", quoting a longtime friend of Mr Mandela's, Andrew Mlangeni.


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