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Nelson Mandela Remains In Critical Condition

Update Date: Jun 24, 2013 10:04 AM EDT

Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, is in critical condition, according to the country's leader, President Jacob Zuma. Mandela, who is currently being treated for a recurring respiratory infection, has repeatedly experienced these types of infections within the past few years. These infections are tied to the tuberculosis infection Mandela suffered from when lived behind bars for 27 years fighting for South African human rights. Now, as his condition remains critical, the country continues to pray for the former leader and icon that helped end the apartheid and start a democratic nation.

"Doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well being and comfort," Zuma stated to journalists, according to the LA Times. "I think it's important for us to say that Madiba [Mandela's clan name] is critical in the hospital and this is the father of democracy...and therefore he's a man we all love. I think all of us in the country should accept the fact that Madiba is now old and that therefore as he ages, his health will being to trouble him."

The spokesman for Zuma added, "The fact that we are saying that the doctors say he has deteriorated from a serious condition to critical should be sobering to all of us, should raise concerns for all of us. We are saying the doctors are working with might and main to improve his condition and we are hoping his condition will improve."

Mandela, 94, was first admitted to the hospital on June 8 via an ambulance. Since then, both the President and Mandela's family have asked for privacy as the Nobel Peace Prize winner gets treated with the best options available.

"They haven't stopped treating him with all the best medicine in the world. He still opens his eyes...the touch is there," Mandela's daughter, Makaziwe Mandela revealed.

Mandela was elected to lead the country in 1994 after the first open election sworn in the first black president of the Republic of South Africa.  Although he only stayed in office till 1999, his humanitarian efforts never ended. In 1999, Mandela created the Nelson Mandela foundation to remind people of its pasts and how it has moved forward in creating a place for peace, human rights and democracy.

Makaziwe added, "He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world. I believe he is at peace."

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