Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital after spending ten days in a South African clinic.
The 94-year-old former president was taken to hospital on March 27, suffering from pneumonia. The admission was the third time that Mr Mandela had been taken to hospital since December.
On Thursday evening his wife, Graca Machel, said that her husband was “fine” and that his condition was improving.
“Madiba is fine, Madiba is getting better and better,” she said, using Mr Mandela’s clan name.
“He is in hospital simply because the doctors want to be absolutely sure that he is strong enough to go home and nothing is going to recur,” she said.
The prolonged stay in hospital sparked an outpouring of wishes and prayers from around the world. It was Mr Mandela’s longest period inside a clinic since his release from 27 years in prison in 1990.
“Thank you very very very much for lifting him up. God is listening,” said Ms Machel, who married Mr Mandela on his 80th birthday and has been at his side in hospital.
He has not appeared in public since July 2010, when he was at the Soccer City stadium in Soweto for the World Cup final.
Mr Mandela’s lung problems date back to his time in prison on Robben Island, when he worked in a tough prison quarry and was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1988.
He has also been treated for prostate cancer and stomach ailments.
However, a close friend South Africa’s first black leader said he was determined to live through the scare.
“I think that he has always had confidence in members of the (health) profession and he has the love and care of (his wife) Graca and members of his family and a few of his friends that go to him from time to time,” said George Bizos, Mr Mandela’s lawyer.
“I think he enjoys that and would like to continue.”