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Nelson Mandela hospitalized, 'in good spirits' (UPDATES)

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid icon, has been hospitalized over what was described as a "long-standing abdominal complaint" requiring specialist attention.

Mandela hospitalized 2012 02 25Enlarge
Nelson Mandela looks at a copy of his latest book "Nelson Mandela, By Himself," during its launch in June 2011. Mandela was hospitalized on Feb. 25, 2012, with what was described as "a long-standing abdominal complaint." (Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation/Courtesy)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized over an abdominal complaint, but is said to be "in good spirits and well."

Officials said that Mandela, 93, was taken to hospital today "over a long-standing abdominal complaint," to receive "proper specialist medical attention."

The name of the hospital where Mandela is receiving treatment has not been released. 

The office of President Jacob Zuma issued the statement on Mandela's health, wishing "Madiba," as he is known in South Africa, a quick recovery and asking for his privacy to be respected.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world," the statement said.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj told South Africa's eNews channel that Mandela "is in good spirits and well."

a More from GlobalPost: Mandela health scare sparked by mistaken tweet 

A BBC report said Mandela had undergone surgery overnight and is in stable condition. But Keith Khoza, African National Congress spokesman, asked media not to speculate, and described Mandela's hospital visit as "pre-arranged."

Khoza told eNews that Mandela was in hospital for a check up, and there had been no operation.

Mandela has been in frail health in recent years. In January 2011, he was hospitalized for treatment of respiratory problems. 

His stay at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg sparked a media frenzy, and promises by government to in future keep the public better informed about any developments with Mandela's health.

More from GlobalPost: Mandela's release from hospital calms South Africa

Mandela returned to his home in Johannesburg last month from his rural residence in Qunu village, in the Eastern Cape. The official reason given was that his Qunu home was undergoing "routine maintenance."

His last public appearance was at the 2010 soccer World Cup, hosted by South Africa.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/120225/nelson-mandela-hospitalized-abdominal-complaint-madiba-health-news