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Nelson Mandela Died? Former President is Alive, Still Battling Lung Infection Ahead of Obama's Visit to Africa

Update Date: Jun 25, 2013 09:32 PM EDT
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Nelson Mandela died? South African former president is alive, contrary to what may be trending online. Mandela remains in critical condition and has been in hospital since June 8, CNN reported Sunday.

A spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma has confirmed Nelson Mandela is in critical condition. The former South African president has spent two weeks in a Pretoria hospital undergoing treatment for a respiratory infection.

There had been a media report that Mandela suffered a heart attack, but Zuma said it was false: "There is no truth at all in that report," he said, according to Al Jazeera.

"Doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well being and comfort," Zuma said. He emphasized that Mandela's health wasn't compromised during the June 8 ambulance ride, which broke down en route to the hospital.

Former president Thabo Mbeki said in a radio interview that Mandela "is improving in terms of his health. I don't think anyone should entertain some sort of wrong notion that Nelson Mandela is about to die tomorrow."

"He's not going to," Mbeki added.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years imprisoned in Robben Island which is off the coast of Cape Town. His history of lung problems dates to when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid, and he has battled respiratory infections over the years.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, will be visiting Africa this week with a stop in South Africa, Tanzania and Senegal. Obama will be discussing U.S. trade and investment in a continent where economic growth is picking up and support for democratic institutions.

Mandela's daughter Zindzi said that her father smiled and opened his eyes when she told him of Obama's visit, the Independent reports.

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