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Nelson Mandela’s health slips

Nelson Mandela, the 94-year-old anti-apartheid revolutionary, had his health slip in early 2013.

Mandela served as the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first president elected in a national election, and he was given the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

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SOUTH AFRICA (CNN) — Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, has died, South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday. He was 95.

“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma said. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human,” the president said in his late-night address. “We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”

MandelaMandela will have a state funeral. Zuma ordered all flags in the nation to be flown at half-staff from Friday through that funeral.

In Washington, President Obama said, “He achieved more than could be expected of any man and today he’s gone home.  And we’ve lost one of the mostinfluential, courageous, and profoundly good human being any of us will share time with on this Earth.”

Mandela  battled health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

With advancing age and bouts of illness, Mandela retreated to a quiet life at his boyhood home in the nation’s Eastern Cape Province, where he said he was most at peace.

Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the nation’s consciousness.

A hero to blacks and whites

In a nation healing from the scars of apartheid, Mandela became a moral compass.

His defiance of white-minority rule and incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world’s attention on apartheid, the legalized racial segregation enforced by the South African government until 1994.

In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from a militant freedom fighter, to a prisoner, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman.

Years after his 1999 retirement from the presidency, Mandela was considered the ideal head of state. He became a yardstick for African leaders, who consistently fell short when measured against him.

Warm, lanky and charismatic in his silk, earth-toned dashikis, he was quick to admit to his shortcomings, endearing him further in a culture in which leaders rarely do.

His steely gaze disarmed opponents. So did his flashy smile.

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation.

“Today the world mourns the loss of a great moral leader,” Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray said in a statement.  “Nelson Mandela was one of humanity’s brightest lights, and his example of the essential goodness that we are all capable of will continue to shine long after today.”

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said, “Mandela spent his entire life fighting against the shackles of oppression and after 27 years of imprisonment, he won freedom for his country and set a lasting example that the world will never forget. Mandela’s life shows how one man can truly change the world. May he rest in peace.”

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) – Court papers lodged by members of former South African leader Nelson Mandela’s family in a burial dispute say his “health is perilous” and fears that his death is drawing near are justified.

The affidavit was lodged in court this week as 16 members of Mandela’s family battled his grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, also known as Mandla, over where three of the anti-apartheid icon’s deceased children should be buried.

Mandla Mandela lost his case Wednesday, which meant the return of the remains of the three relatives to the family graveyard in Qunu, Nelson Mandela’s boyhood home, could go ahead.

NelsonThey were reburied Thursday in the family compound.

The remains were removed from the Qunu village cemetery two years ago by Mandla Mandela and then taken to the village of Mvezo. The former South African president was born in Mvezo, but spent his childhood in Qunu.

Nelson Mandela has been in a critical condition in a Pretoria hospital since June 8.

The family affidavit lodged at the Mthatha High Court gives new insight into the seriousness of his condition.

“The anticipation of his impending death is based on real and substantial grounds,” it reads.

“The applicants are desirous of burying their father and committing him to earth in which his descendants lie.”

The family members said it is “incontestable” that the reburial of his three deceased children is what he wants.

“The applicants do not want a situation to be created in which Nelson Mandela’s remains are committed to lie in a burial site, entirely alone and forlorn and absent from the remains of his children,” the affidavit said.

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) – Though anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is critically ill, he is opening his eyes and responding to touch, his oldest daughter said Thursday.

Mandela, 94, considered the founding father of South Africa’s modern democracy, has been undergoing treatment at a Pretoria hospital since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

Nelson“I reiterate that Tata is very critical, that anything is imminent,”Makaziwe Mandela told state-run South African Broadcasting Corp. “But I want to emphasize again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is, and so we will wait.”

Tata is the the Xhosa word for father.

“He’s … still reactive to touch. We will live with that hope until the final end comes,” she said.

An official briefed on Mandela’s condition said he was on life support late Wednesday. Government spokesman Mac Maharaj declined to comment on the report, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) – Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was on life support in a Pretoria hospital late Wednesday, said an official who had been briefed in detail on his condition.

Considered the founding father of South Africa’s democracy, Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Authorities have described his condition as critical since Sunday, and President Jacob Zuma said earlier Wednesday that Mandela’s condition remained unchanged, South Africa’s national news agency reported.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the government said Mandela’s doctors “continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort.”

NelsonAs the nation remained on edge, police barricaded the street leading to the hospital’s main entrance. Well-wishers hung balloons, stuffed animals and messages of support along the wall outside his Pretoria hospital. Crowds hovering nearby sang “Where is Mandela?”

“We need you!,” one sign read. “We love you tata, get well soon!” said another, referring to Mandela by the Xhosa word for father. Someone else left a stone upon which was written, “Sending you light and love.”

Several members of the family came out to collect some of those items Wednesday.

“He’s going to feel a lot better when he sees these signs,” said David Manaway, Mandela’s grandson-in-law.

Mandela’s former physician and the nation’s ex-surgeon general, Dr. Vejay Ramlakan, also visited the hospital Wednesday, said the national news agency, South African Press Association.

Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country’s system of racial segregation. He was elected the nation’s first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed.

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(CNN) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela is now in critical condition, officials said.

Mandela’s condition worsened in the past 24 hours, the South African president’s office said, citing Mandela’s medical team.

He has been hospitalized in Pretoria since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Previously, authorities had described his condition as serious but stable.

“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,” President Jacob Zuma said in a written statement, referring to Mandela’s tribal name.

Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail over the years and has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.

SOUTH AFRICA — Former South African leader Nelson Mandela remained in intensive care Monday, two days after he was hospitalized with a recurring lung infection.

The increasingly frail Mandela was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria on Saturday. Later in the day, the South African president’s office said the 94-year-old former leader was in a “serious but stable condition.”

He was breathing on his own and his wife was by his side, the office said at the time.

After offering no updates for 48 hours, the government said Monday that Mandela’s condition was “unchanged.”

Meanwhile, his daughter Zenani Dlamini, who is the South African ambassador to Argentina, has flown back to South Africa to be with her father.

NelsonMandela has been in and out of hospitals in recent years.

Each episode has sparked concerns worldwide.

On Sunday, South Africans offered prayers at church services, and well-wishes poured in for Mandela from across the world.

Meanwhile, the front page of South Africa’s Sunday Times read, “It’s time to let him go.”

The paper quoted Mandela’s longtime friend Andrew Mlangeni as saying that the time may have come for South Africans to say goodbye to the beloved icon.

“You have been coming to the hospital too many times. Quite clearly you are not well and there is a possibility you might not be well again,” Mlangeni told the paper.

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