Mandela improving but still critical

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela AP FILE PHOTO

JOHANNESBURG — The office of the South African president says Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition although his health is gradually improving.

In a statement Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela is making a “slow but steady improvement.”

Zuma thanked South Africans for praying for the 95-year-old former president, who has been hospitalized since June 8 because of a lung infection.

The government has released few details on Mandela’s illness, citing privacy issues. Legal documents filed by the family of the anti-apartheid leader had said he was on life support, though some family members have in recent weeks given upbeat assessments of his health. A number of relatives have talked of Mandela returning soon to his home in Johannesburg but others have not spoken about him leaving the hospital.

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