Nelson Mandela has been re-admitted to hospital with a recurrence of a lung infection, the South African government said on Thursday.
A statement from the South African presidency said Mandela, 94, was admitted just before before midnight, adding that he was receiving the “best possible expert medical treatment and comfort.”
Mr. Mandela’s spokesman Mac Maharaj told Sky News that the former president was “conscious.”
He said: “At the moment doctors are saying it is a recurrence of an old lung infection. It is a matter of concern … He was admitted around midnight last night.
Back in December, the former South African President spent 18 days in hospital being treated for a lung infection and gallstones.
Widely regarded as the father of the nation for leading the civil struggle against apartheid, Mandela occupies a deep affection among the country’s people.
However, his health has caused concern for some time.
Mandela has had recurring lung problems since contracting tuberculosis in 1988 during the 27 years he spent in prison under the barbaric apartheid regime.
Mandela served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999 after he was released in 1990.
He was admitted to hospital in February 2012 following persistent abdominal pain but was released the next day after examinations revealed nothing. Earlier this month, Mandela spent a night in hospital in the capital Pretoria following a scheduled medical check-up.
South Africa’s current president, President Jacob Zuma, wrote that he wished “Madiba” — as Mandela is known in South Africa — a speedy recovery.
“We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.”
The Nobel Peace Laureate’s last public appearances was at the final of the 2010 World Cup, which South Africa hosted, when he toured the stadium with his third wife, Graca Machel.
However, Mandela, did receive the former President Bill Clinton and his wife, the former secretary of state, Hilary, for a brief visit in August 2012.
Since his retirement from public life, Mandela has spent most of his time in his ancestral home in Qunu, a village in the impoverished Eastern Cape province.
In February this year, Mandela’s granddaughters showed the first picture of him to be seen in more than seven months as they promoted a reality TV series in which they star.
The former world statesman was seen with his great grandson, Zen, sitting on his lap at his Johannesburg home.