Nelson Mandela to spend Christmas in hospital: Ailing apartheid hero still recovering from operation


Nelson Mandela to spend Christmas in hospital: Ailing apartheid hero still recovering from operationFormer South African leader's is to stay in hospital for Christmas DayMr Mandela is said to be improving and responding to treatmentPresident Zuma has said the whole country is behind Mr Mandela

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UPDATED:

17:13 GMT, 24 December 2012

Former South Africa leader Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas Day in hospital as he continues to recover from his operation.

Mr Mandela's doctors confirmed the news today, the presidency has said in a statement.

The anti-apartheid figure was admitted on December 8 to a hospital in Pretoria, the South African capital.

Recovering: Former South African leader Nelson Mandela is to spend Christmas Day in hospital, the presidency has said

Recovering: Former South African leader Nelson Mandela is to spend Christmas Day in hospital, the presidency has said

He was airlifted from his rural village in the south of the country to the hospital 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 is still in hospital.

Officials have said Mr Mandela is improving and is responding to treatment.

South African president Jacob Zuma said the whole country is behind Mr Mandela and he urged people to keep the former president in their thoughts on Christmas Day and throughout the festive season.

Mr Zuma describes Mr Mandela, who was imprisoned under apartheid for 27 years, as an 'ardent fighter'.

Getting better: Mr Mandela is said to be improving and is responding to treatment, but doctors have not let him home for Christmas

Getting better: Mr Mandela is said to be improving and is responding to treatment, but doctors have not let him home for Christmas