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Nelson Mandela Still Critical, But Grandson Says He's 'Very Much Alive'

Image: Nelson Mandela Still Critical, But Grandson Says He's 'Very Much Alive'

By Morgan Chilson   |   Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 04:27 PM

Nelson Mandela is in critical but stable condition in a South African hospital, and his grandson reminded media gathered outside that the former leader is “very much alive,” the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The former South African president, who will turn 95 on July 18, has been ill for some time, and the LA Times reported that court documents from the family last week said death was “impending.”

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But grandson Ndaba Mandela encouraged people to celebrate Mandela’s life, the Times reported.

“When I speak to him, he responds,” Ndaba Mandela said. “Let us not be in a spirit of sadness but a spirit of celebration because the old man is still with us today.”

Friends who had visited the ill leader in recent weeks said he couldn’t speak because of a tube down his throat. But Ndaba said his grandfather is aware and responds when he speaks to him, the LA Times article said.

South African President Jacob Zuma released a statement thanking everyone for their support during Mandela’s hospital confinement, CTV News said.

People gathered and held prayer services for the politician both at Mandela’s Johannesburg home and the hospital in Pretoria where he is a patient, CTV reported.

Mandela first went in a hospital on June 8 because of a lung infection, the BBC said. The news organization said Mandela is “revered” around the world for his fight to end white rule in South Africa, for which he received a Nobel Peace Prize. He was jailed for 27 years, only freed in 1990. He served as the country’s president for five years.

While Mandela has been in the hospital, a court feud between family members was settled, according to the USA Today. One grandson had moved the bodies of three of Mandela’s children from their original burial sites, and other family members fought to have the bodies returned. A South African court ordered the bodies returned to the first location where they had been buried.

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