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Nelson Mandela undergoes surgery to remove gallstones

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, who has spent eight days in hospital, underwent a procedure via endoscopy to remove gallstones.

Mandela statueEnlarge
A sculpture of former South African President Nelson Mandela, is presented on August 4, 2012 in Howick, 90 kms South of Durban, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mandela's capture by the apartheid police. (RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa — Nelson Mandela has undergone surgery to remove gallstones, South African officials said today.

The 94-year-old former president was hospitalized December 8 in Pretoria for tests that revealed a recurrence of a lung infection.

The tests also showed that Mandela had developed gallstones, President Jacob Zuma's office said. Doctors wanted to treat the lung infection before performing endoscopic surgery to remove the gallstones.

"This morning, 15 December 2012, the former president underwent a procedure via endoscopy to have the gallstones removed," a statement said. "The procedure was successful and Madiba is recovering."

Many South Africans refer to Mandela by his Xhosa clan name "Madiba" as a term of affection and respect.

No information has been given about when the anti-apartheid icon might be released from hospital.

The South African National Editors' Forum released a statement this morning criticizing the government for "misleading statements" about the circumstances surrounding his hospitalization.

In-depth series from GlobalPost: Mandela's Village: South Africa's road from Qunu

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/121215/nelson-mandela-undergoes-surgery-remove-gallstones