On Saturday, former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was rushed to the hospital with a recurring lung infection. Two days later, he's still in intensive care. According to a brief statement released by South Africa's government today, the 94-year-old's condition is "unchanged" from when he was admitted: serious, but stable.
And it looks pretty serious indeed. Mandela's daughter, Zenani Dlamini, has flown in from Argentina to be with her father (she's the South African ambassador to Argentina). The South African government has asked its citizens to pray for Mandela and his family. And the Sunday Times took on a pretty somber tone with their front-page headline: "It's time to let him go." CNN has the details:
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. "Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too," Mlangeni said.
Mandela is no stranger to respiratory problems. He first contracted tuberculosis while he was held as a political prisoner for 27 years before becoming South Africa's first president, and has been in and out of the hospital within the last few years. The anti-apartheid leader typically receives care and treatment at home, but was last admitted to the hospital in April, when doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia.