JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized in serious condition with a lung infection, according to government officials.
South African presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement that Mandela, 94, fell ill several days ago, but his condition deteriorated overnight and he was transferred to Pretoria early Saturday.
The government's frank admission that Mandela was in serious condition underscored the fears over the elderly statesman's increasing frailty.
Comments from officials also suggested that Mandela's illness may be graver than ones in the past. African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu, told Sky News that the party was "prepared for the worst."
Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, canceled an appearance in London, where she was to address a summit on hunger and was at Mandela's bedside.
Mandela has struggled with repeated lung infections after a serious bout of tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment in the apartheid era. Most recently, he was hospitalized in April and in December with a lung infection.