Mandela News: South African icon ‘not in any danger,’ to be released from hospital soon

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nelson Mandela is "not in any danger" and will be released from hospital tomorrow or Monday, the South African presidency said today.

Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who became South Africa's first democratically elected president, was admitted to hospital this morning for a planned diagnostic procedure to investigate an abdominal problem.

His hospitalization at an unnamed medical facility, thought to be in Johannesburg or Pretoria, immediately set off a storm of media coverage.

South African officials said earlier that Mandela, 93, had been taken to hospital to receive "proper specialist medical attention" for "a long-standing abdominal complaint."

The man who South Africans affectionately call "Madiba," after his clan name, was said to be "in good spirits and well."

“Madiba is fine and fully conscious and the doctors are satisfied with his condition, which they say is consistent with his age," said an update from the office of President Jacob Zuma.

"He was in good health before admission in hospital but doctors felt the complaint needed a thorough investigation. He underwent a diagnostic procedure as part of his ongoing medical management. We are happy that he is not in any danger."

Mandela is expected to be discharged from hospital tomorrow or Monday, the statement said.

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Mandela has been in frail health in recent years. In January 2011, he was hospitalized for treatment of respiratory problems.

His stay at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg sparked a media frenzy, and the government promised to in future keep the public better informed about any developments with Mandela's health.

During the 2011 health scare, there was an apparent battle over who controlled the release of Mandela news, with rumors filling the information void.

Mandela returned to his home in Johannesburg last month from his rural residence in Qunu village, in the Eastern Cape. The official reason given was that his Qunu home was undergoing "routine maintenance."

His last public appearance was at the 2010 soccer World Cup, hosted by South Africa.  

A BBC report earlier today said Mandela had undergone surgery overnight and is in stable condition. But Keith Khoza, African National Congress spokesman, asked media not to speculate, and described Mandela's hospital visit as "pre-arranged."

Khoza told eNews that Mandela was in hospital for a check-up, and there had been no operation.

The South African presidency has asked for the privacy of the Mandela family to be respected, and said that members of the public can send messages to Madiba through Zuma at

Special report from GlobalPost: Mandela's village: South Africa's road from Qunu

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