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Mandela discharged after treatment for respiratory infection

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Nelson Mandela goes home
  • He's in great spirits, South Africa's surgeon general says
  • Reports that the former president is sick spark concerns worldwide
  • He suffered from tuberculosis when he was in prison years ago
  • His last public appearance was in the summer

Johannesburg (CNN) -- Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was discharged from a South African hospital Friday after treatment for an acute respiratory infection, the nation's surgeon general said.

The 92-year-old former president left the hospital in a motorcade that included an ambulance in the middle.

Doctors are happy with his recovery and he will continue to receive treatment at home, said V.J. Ramlakan, the surgeon general.

"We may recall that he suffered from tuberculosis and has had previous respiratory infections," Ramlakan said. "He is also not as mobile as before. And over the last few years, has had to be assisted with movement."

Ramlakan said Mandela handles the "difficulties of old age with the greatest of graces."

Mandela was flown to a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday from Cape Town, where he was on vacation.

Reports that he was hospitalized sparked concerns worldwide.

Mandela will be home soon
Nelson Mandela treated at hospital

South African officials urged citizens to be calm, saying the Mandela "suffers from ailments common to people of his age."

"Medically there is no need to panic," said Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president. "Mandela suffers from ... conditions that have developed over years. We may recall that he has suffered from tuberculosis whilst on Robben Island and has had previous respiratory infections."

Mandela was imprisoned for decades at Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town.

The former president rarely makes public appearances.

His last appearance was at the closing ceremonies of the World Cup in South Africa over the summer. He recently released a new memoir, "Conversations With Myself."

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of sabotage and attempts to overthrow the government under South Africa's former apartheid regime.

He was released in 1990 and served as president four years later.

CNN Johannesburg Bureau Chief Kim Norgaard contributed to this report.