Dec 26 2012
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been released from hospital.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon has been in hospital since December 8 being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said.
He will continue to receive medical care at his home in Johannesburg, officials said.
In recent days, officials said Mr Mandela was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mr Mandela will receive more medical care at home until he fully recovers. He requested that the public respect Mr Mandela's privacy.
Mr Mandela is revered around the world as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, his legacy forged in the fight against apartheid, the system of white minority rule that imprisoned him for 27 years.
The Nobel laureate served one five-year term as president after South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. Although the country today struggles with poverty and inequality, Mr Mandela is widely credited with helping to avert race-driven chaos as South Africa emerged from apartheid.
South African President Jacob Zuma was among those who joined Mr Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, and other family members in wishing a Merry Christmas to Mr Mandela at his hospital bedside in Pretoria, the South African capital.