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Nelson Mandela 'in good spirits' after second night in hospital

March 29, 2013|By Robyn Dixon | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is showing signs of recovery after his second night in a hospital for treatment of a recurring lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said Friday.

Mandela was admitted to the hospital in Pretoria shortly before midnight Wednesday. The unexpected late-night admission and reports that the infection had advanced rapidly alarmed many South Africans.

However, Zuma issued a statement Friday afternoon that Mandela, South Africa's first black president, "is in good spirits and enjoyed a full breakfast this morning."

TIMELINE: The remarkable life of Nelson Mandela

"The doctors report that he is making steady progress. He remains under treatment and observation in hospital," the statement said.

Zuma said earlier that Mandela was "doing very well" and responding to treatment. He urged South Africans not to panic about the news the Mandela was in the hospital again, and repeated an appeal for the media and members of the public to respect the family's privacy.

It was the third time the former leader has been hospitalized since early December, when he spent nearly three weeks under care for the lung infection. Earlier this month, he spent a night in a hospital for tests.

The 94-year-old Mandela has suffered from respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27 years in prison.

[For the Record, 10:58 a.m. PDT March 29: An earlier version of this post stated that Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years. He spent the last eight years of his 27-year confinement in other prisons.]

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