Published February 26, 2012
JOHANNESBURG – Former South African leader Nelson Mandela was released from the hospital Sunday following successful treatment for an abdominal complaint.
The 93-year-old ex-leader underwent laparoscopy -- a procedure in which the abdominal area is examined by tiny cameras inserted through small incisions -- and was well enough to be discharged Sunday.
"He had investigative laparoscopy. He's fine, and he is recovering from anesthetic, and he is as fine as can be at his age. He is fine and handsome," Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told reporters at a news conference prior to Mandela's release.
Mandela was taken to the Johannesburg hospital Saturday due to a "long-standing abdominal complaint," a statement released by the country's presidency said.
South African president Jacob Zuma issued a statement Sunday saying Mandela was "surrounded by his family" in the hospital, adding that the former leader was "relaxed and comfortable."
"The doctors are happy with the progress he is making. We thank all South Africans for their love and support of Madiba. We also thank all for affording Madiba and his family privacy and dignity," he said, referring to Mandela by his clan name. "The doctors have assured us that there is nothing to worry about and that Madiba is in good health."
Mandela, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, was hospitalized early last year for a respiratory infection. His frail health has become a source of national anxiety in recent years.
The anti-apartheid icon served one term as the country's first black president following South Africa's first multi-racial election in 1994.
Mandela last appeared in public during the final of the soccer World Cup in South Africa in July 2010. He returned to live in Johannesburg last month from his rural home village in the Eastern Cape.