JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Nelson Mandela's health has deteriorated and he is now in critical condition, the South African government said today.
The office of President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that he had visited the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader at a hospital this evening and was informed by the medical team that Mandela's condition had become critical in the past 24 hours.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," Zuma said in the statement, using Mandela's clan name.
In this July 2012 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his 94th birthday with family in Qunu, South Africa. Mandela's health has deteriorated and he is now in critical condition, the South African government said today.
Zuma also met Graca Machel, Mandela's wife, at the hospital in Pretoria and discussed the former leader's condition, according to the statement. Zuma was accompanied on the visit by Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president of the country's ruling party, the African National Congress.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule and released in 1990. He then played a leading role in steering the divided country from the apartheid era to democracy, becoming South Africa's first black president in all-race elections in 1994. He was hospitalized on June 8 for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.