The South African government confirmed on Saturday that former President Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital where he was receiving pneumonia treatments, and “will now receive home-based high care.”
South African President Jacob Zuma thanked the medical team and hospital staff that cared for the former leader, and in a statement said he “also extended his gratitude to all South Africans and friends of the Republic in Africa and around the world for support.”
According to the statement, Mandela was released “following a sustained and gradual improvement in his general condition.”
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader had been admitted into the hospital shortly before midnight on March 27.
“He was rushed to the hospital in the dead of night and the government made no attempt–as it has in the past–to suggest that this was a routine visit or that this was not serious,” said NBC News correspondent Ron Allen on Saturday.
The hospital stay was Mandela’s third in the past four months–he was admitted briefly in early March for a check-up, and spent nearly three weeks in the hospital in December when he contracted a lung infection after surgery to remove gallstones.
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and is renowned for being a symbol against racism after having spent 27 years in prison for fighting the white-minority government.
He has been in ill-health for quite some time, Allen says, and has been very “forgetful,” and “frail.”
“We don’t know a lot about his medical condition is the bottom line,” Allen said.