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Prayers for Mandela as concern grows over health

FEARS over the health of Nelson Mandela are growing after he prepared for a second night in hospital, with a steady stream of visits by family and senior politicians.

The former South African president (92) was flown from Cape Town to a hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

His aides insisted that he was "in good spirits" and merely having "routine tests".

However, Mr Mandela is thought to have been seen by a specialist in respiratory disease.

He stayed overnight and there was no sign last night that he would be sent home. President Jacob Zuma's office said only that Mr Mandela was "comfortable". Mr Zuma was being kept "abreast of developments" at the annual World Economic Forum.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which speaks on his behalf, has refused to be drawn on the nature of his ailment.

But reports from Cape Town, where he was on holiday with his wife, Graca Machel, suggested that medics recommended he go to Johannesburg over concerns about a "persistent cough".

Speculation veered between suggestions that Mr Mandela was in a coma to claims that he was about to be discharged.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who last week conceded that his friend was "frail" when he saw him, said that while Mr Mandela remained in "amazing" condition for his age, South Africans had to be prepared for the worst. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent