Former South African President Nelson Mandela leaves hospital after successful "routine tests"

Former South African President Nelson Mandela leaves hospital after successful 'routine tests'94-year-old had planned tests to monitor his existing health conditionsMandela was hospitalised last year for lung infection and gallstones

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Routine: Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital in Pretoria for
routine tests and there was said to be 'no cause for concern'

Mr Mandela was hospitalised at the end of last year and he was airlifted on December 8
from his rural village in the south of the country to a hospital in
Pretoria for a series of tests.

Doctors found the former president
and hero of the anti-apartheid struggle had a recurrent lung infection
and had developed gallstones.

He underwent surgery to remove the gallstones on December 15 and remained in hospital until December 26.

At that time Mr Zuma had sought to calm jitters over Mr Mandela's health.

'I have been informed that at his age
doctors need to intervene in a very gradual and sensitive way in order
to maximise the chances of a full recovery,' he said.

'Madiba is an
unparalleled fighter and has always been so. He has met all his health
challenges with his tremendous fortitude and grace.'

The Nobel peace laureate has a long
history of lung problems dating back decades to when he contracted
tuberculosis while in jail as a political prisoner.

Mr Mandela made his last public appearance alongside his wife Graca Machel at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2010 World Cup

Smiling: Mr Mandela made his last public appearance alongside his wife Graca Machel at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2010 World Cup

He was previously admitted to hospital
for an acute respiratory infection in January 2011, when he was kept as
an inpatient for two nights.

Under South Africa's white-minority
apartheid regime, Mandela spent 27 years in prison before he was
released in 1990. He became the nation's first democratically elected
president in 1994 under the banner of the African National Congress. He
served one five-year term before retiring.

The anti-apartheid leader is
particularly susceptible to illness because of his age and his 27 years
in prison, though medics said he responded well to treatment.

He fought off a similar lung infection in 2011 and once contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned.

Medical experts have said that respiratory
illnesses like pneumonia striking a man his age are a serious matter
that require care and monitoring.

His last hospitalisation
had caused concern in South Africa, a nation of 50 million
people that largely reveres him for being the nation's first
democratically elected president who sought to bring the country
together after centuries of racial division.

Public concern: When Mandela was last hospitalised in December broadcast vans parked near the 1 Military Hospital eager for updates on his condition

Public concern: When Mandela was last hospitalised in December broadcast vans parked near the 1 Military Hospital eager for updates on his condition

Security: South African military police officers checked cars entering the 1 Military Hospital last year when Mr Mandela was hospitalised

Security: South African military police officers checked cars entering the 1 Military Hospital last year when Mr Mandela was hospitalised

In January 2011, Mr Mandela was
admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially
described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory
infection.

The chaos that followed his stay at
that public hospital, with journalists and members of the public surrounding it
and entering wards, saw the South African military take charge of his
care and the government control the information about his health.

The Nobel laureate last made a public appearance on a major stage when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup football tournament.

Although South Africa today struggles with poverty and inequality, Mandela is widely credited with helping to avert race-driven chaos as South Africa emerged from apartheid.

Bated breath: During Mandela's last hospital stay South Africa was eagerly awaiting news of his condition

Bated breath: During Mandela's last hospital stay South Africa was eagerly awaiting news of his condition