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Nelson Mandela 'Breathing On His Own' After Hospitalization

Nelson Mandela's health has been in decline in recent years.
Nelson Mandela's health has been in decline in recent years.

( Story Last updated at 9:50 a.m. ET)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela was breathing on his own after being admitted to a hospital at the age of 94 for a recurring respiratory infection, officials said.

Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday.

"What I am told by doctors is that he is breathing on his own and I think that is a positive sign," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. "Madiba is a fighter and at his age, as long as he is fighting, he will be fine," said Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

Mandela has been treated several times in recent month. Most recently, he was discharged on April 6 after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his lungs. His condition is complicated by tuberculosis, which he contracted during his 27-year incarceration for anti-apartheid activities.

In a statement, Zuma said "doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable."

Here's our original post:

The office of South Africa's president says an ailing Nelson Mandela has returned to the hospital because of a lung infection.

The statement says the 94-year-old Mandela had a recurrence of the illness that had recently hospitalized him, and that his condition deteriorated in the last few days. This is Mandela's fourth admission to the hospital since late last year.

He is said to be in "stable but serious" condition at a Pretoria hospital.

The anti-apartheid figure was South Africa's first black president, winning the office in 1994 in South Africa's first post-apartheid election.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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