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Mandela reportedly recovered from infection, surgery

View images of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, who went from anti-apartheid activist to prisoner to South Africa's first black president.

JOHANNESBURG -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has recovered from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones that kept him in the hospital for nearly three weeks, the government said Sunday.

Mandela, 94, who has been in frail health for several years, spent most of December in a Pretoria hospital -- his longest stay for medical care since his release from prison in 1990. He has been receiving treatment at his Johannesburg home after he left the hospital Dec. 26.

"President Mandela has made steady progress and clinically he continues to improve," the Office of the Presidency said in a statement.

Mandela had recovered from his surgical procedure and the lung infection, it said, citing his medical team.

Related: 'Who is my Mandela?' South Africans consider icon's place in a changing world

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. He spent 27 years in prison, including 18 years on the windswept Robben Island off Cape Town.

He became South Africa's first black president after the first all-race elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid.

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