Nelson Mandela was discharged on Saturday from the hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for pneumonia, South Africa's presidency said in a statement. NBC's Ron Allen reports.
Nelson Mandela was discharged on Saturday from the hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for pneumonia, South Africa’s presidency said in a statement.
View images of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela — who went from anti-apartheid activist to prisoner to South Africa's first black president.
The decision to release the 94-year-old, anti-apartheid icon was taken “following a sustained and gradual improvement in his general condition,” the statement said.
“The former President will now receive home-based high care,” it added. “President [Jacob] Zuma thanks the hard-working medical team and hospital staff for looking after Madiba so efficiently."
The statement said Zuma also extended “his gratitude to all South Africans and friends” of the country in Africa and overseas.
Photographers captured pictures of an ambulance that was believed to be carrying Mandela arriving at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
Among a small group of well-wishers was Michelle Lewis and her daughter Kristen, who was two on Saturday. Kristen gave a small gift, a get-well message and a balloon for Mandela to a guard at the house, according to Getty Images.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. He spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island and in other jails for his attempts to overthrow the white-minority government.
He was admitted to the hospital shortly before midnight March 27, and Zuma initially asked people to pray for him, prompting global concern for Mandela's health.
Global figures, including President Barack Obama, sent get-well messages.
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
An ambulance believed to be transporting Nelson Mandela arrives at his house in Houghton, South Africa, Saturday.
A government statement issued Saturday said doctors had drained excess fluid from Mandela's lungs and that he was breathing without difficulty.
And this week saw several updates on his condition that said he was getting better.
Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and was hailed as a global symbol of tolerance and harmony.
He stepped down as president in 1999 and has not been politically active for a decade.
But he is still revered at home and abroad for leading the struggle against apartheid rule and then championing racial reconciliation while in office.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela is at home resting after being discharged from the hospital where he was being treated for a recurring lung infection and pneumonia. NBC's Ron Allen reports.
This story was originally published on Sat Apr 6, 2013 8:57 AM EDT