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Home News National News Originally published June 23, 2013

South Africa: Nelson Mandela Deteriorating-- in Critical Condition

by Christopher Torchia
Associated Press

    Soweto African kids hold posters and prints and get well messages outside the home of the former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Mandela, remains in the hospital for a seventh day. The 94-year-old was hospitalized on Saturday for a recurring lung infection. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela's health has deteriorated and he is now in critical condition, the South African government said Sunday.

The office of President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that he had visited the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader at a hospital on Sunday 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.

Zuma also met Graca Machel, Mandela's wife, at the hospital and discussed the former leader's condition, according to the statement.

Mandela, who became South Africa's first Black president after the end of apartheid in 1994, was hospitalized on June 8 for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.

Zuma appealed to South Africans and the rest of the world to pray for Mandela, his family and the medical team that is attending to him.

Mandela was jailed for 27 years under White racist rule and was 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.

As a result of his sacrifice and peacemaking efforts, he is seen by many around the world as a symbol of reconciliation.

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