PRETORIA, South Africa (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s condition has become critical, the South African presidency said Sunday afternoon.
Mandela, 94, has been in the hospital for two weeks fighting a lung infection.
On Friday, one of Mandela’s grandsons said he expected the former president to be released from the hospital soon, and Thabo Mbeki – the man who succeeded Mandela as president – said his health was improving, CBS News reported.
But other sources told CBS News the opposite, and said Mandela’s liver and kidneys were functioning at 50 percent. He also reportedly underwent a procedure to repair a bleeding ulcer, and another to insert a tube.
CBS News also reported last week that Mandela was initially taken in the middle of the night to the hospital by a military ambulance in Pretoria, but it broke down and he had to wait on the side of the highway for more than 40 minutes until another ambulance came.
He was eventually transferred to another vehicle in freezing winter temperatures, CBS News reported.
This past Thursday marked the 23rd anniversary of Mandela’s visit to New York City just a few months after his 27-year imprisonment ended.
At a City Hall welcoming ceremony, Mandela said: “Apartheid is doomed. South Africa will be free. The struggle continues,” the New York Times reported at the time.
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