An ambulance believed to be transporting former president Nelson Mandela… (Associated Press )
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South Africa's former president, Nelson Mandela, has been discharged from the hospital after 10 days undergoing treatment for pneumonia, officials said Saturday.
Mandela's discharge was a huge relief for South Africans, after the anti-apartheid hero was hospitalized with breathing difficulties last month.
His late-night admission alarmed South Africans, who revere Mandela for his role in fighting apartheid and ushering in a period of reconciliation after the first democratic vote in 1994.
TIMELINE: The life of Nelson Mandela
Presidential officials said Mandela's condition had improved but didn't say he had completely recovered. Mandela will continue to receive medical care at home.
"Former President Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital today, 6 April, following a sustained and gradual improvement in his general condition. The former President will now receive home-based" care, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, in a statement.
President Jacob Zuma thanked the medical staff for looking after Mandela and extended his gratitude to South Africans and supporters around the world who prayed for Mandela's recovery.
On Thursday, Mandela's wife, Grace Machel, said Mandela was fine and that God had listened to people's prayers for his recovery.
While Mandela plays no role in day-to-day politics and does not appear in public, he is still a figure of enormous emotional significance to South Africans.
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