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Mandela spends 10th day in hospital, wife thanks people

June 17, 2013 15:51 IST

Ailing Nelson Mandela's wife on Monday thanked people from across the world for their love that helped lighten the "burden of anxiety", as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon spent his tenth day in hospital.

Graca Machel expressed her gratitude in a statement, saying, "The love and peace we feel give yet more life to the simple 'Thank you!'"

"So much love and generosity from South Africans, Africans across the continent and thousands more from across the world, have come our way to lighten the burden of anxiety; bringing us love, comfort and hope," she said.

Machel said they have felt the closeness of the world and the deepest meaning of strength and peace.

On Sunday, South African President Jacob Zuma had said that the revered world leader, although still serious, had made "sustained" improvement in health condition and was engaged with his family.

"Over the last two days, although he (Mandela) remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained. He continues to engage with family," Zuma said.

Mandela was admitted at the MediclinicHeartHospital in Pretoria last Saturday after he suffered from a recurrent lung infection. This was his fourth hospitalisation since December.

Mandela had a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on RobbenIsland during apartheid. He contracted tuberculosis in 1988 during his 27 years in prison.

In December, he was admitted for 18 days for treatment of the lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones. It was his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in 1990. In March, he was admitted for an overnight scheduled check-up before returning that month for 10-days.

Mandela, one of the world's tallest statesmen, led the movement to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999.

Though Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since 2010, he remains a towering symbol in South African public life.

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