Nelson Mandela is "responding positively" to treatment for a recurrent lung infection, government officials said. Mandela, 94, had to be hospitalized for a lung infection in December but was treated and released; his advanced age makes the infection all the more dangerous.
"Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort. The doctors advise that former President Nelson Mandela is responding positively to the treatment he is undergoing for a recurring lung infection. He remains under treatment and observation in hospital," the government's statement said.
Mandela's family has been with him the entire time and support for the former South African President remains very high. Mandela is an international icon who fought hard for the end of apartheid of his country and continually put his life on the line. He was sentenced to over 30 years in prison for his efforts, but once released he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with South African President F.W. de Klerk.
"We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts," South African President Jacob Zuma said in a public statement. "We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery."
Mandela's advanced age makes it harder to treat infections and could put him in more peril. Thankfully he is "responding positively," which bodes well for his health and chances of survival. It is obvious he is receiving the best treatment possible and doctors are doing all they can to help him recover.
He has the support of almost the entire world, it seems, as he recovers in the hospital.
"Sending love to Nelson Mandela … back in the hospital. I hope he feels better soon. The world needs him as long as we can have him," Josh Groban tweeted.
"Nelson Mandela's personal story is one of unbreakable will, unwavering integrity, and abiding humility. By any measure, Nelson Mandela has changed the arc of history, transforming his country, continent, and the world," President Obama said in a speech on Nelson Mandela International Day.