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Anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu in hospital with persistent infection

Ilan Godfrey/AFP/Getty Images

Desmond Tutu is awarded the 2013 Templeton Prize in this handout image

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the South Africa anti-apartheid campaigner, checked into a Cape Town hospital Wednesday for treatment of a persistent infection.

Tutu, 81, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for stance against whites-only rule in his country, and remained a global campaigner for peace and human rights until withdrawing from public life last year.

He spent the morning in his office before checking into hospital, a spokesman for his office said.

 “He was in good spirits and full of praise for the care he receives from an exceptional team of doctors,” the spokesman said.

He is expected to undergo tests to discover the underlying cause of the infection, and the non-surgical treatment is expected to take five days.

Earlier this month, Tutu was awarded the 2013 Templeton Prize worth $1.7 million for helping inspire people around the world by promoting forgiveness and justice.

He was a long-time campaigner for the release of Nelson Mandela, who was held as a political prisoner until 1990.

NBC News' Alastair Jamieson contributed to this report.