Former South African President Nelson Mandela was released today from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon will continue to receive medical care at home. Mandela had been in the hospital since Dec. 8. In recent days, officials have said he was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age.
Mandela will receive "home-based high care" at his residence in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton until he fully recovers, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj. "We thank the public and the media for the good wishes and for according Madiba and the family the necessary privacy," said Maharaj in a statement, using Mandela's clan name, a term of affection. The statement requested that Mandela's privacy continue to be respected "in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery."