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President Says Mandela Not In 'Vegetative State'

A poster of former South African President Nelson Mandela from well-wishers is filled with encouraging messages outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated in Pretoria.
South Africa’s president says anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela is not in a “vegetative state.”

A statement said Mandela, 94, remains in “critical but stable condition.”

It said Mandela’s doctors denied reports that Mandela was in a vegetative state.

It added that President Jacob Zuma had visited Mandela in the hospital.

Earlier reports, citing documents from a court case, said Mandela was being kept alive by a breathing machine and faces "impending death."

Mandela has been hospitalized in Pretoria since June 8.

Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years by the country’s former race-based regime, became South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

He is revered around the world for preaching reconciliation between South Africa’s majority blacks and the minority whites who formerly ruled the country.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa