Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was on life support in a Pretoria hospital late Wednesday, said an official who had been briefed in detail on his condition.
Considered the founding father of South Africa’s democracy, Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Authorities have described his condition as critical since Sunday, and President Jacob Zuma said earlier Wednesday that Mandela’s condition remained unchanged, South Africa’s national news agency reported.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the government said Mandela’s doctors “continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort.”
As the nation remained on edge, police barricaded the street leading to the hospital’s main entrance. Well-wishers hung balloons, stuffed animals and messages of support along the wall outside his Pretoria hospital. Crowds hovering nearby sang “Where is Mandela?”