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Nelson Mandela Will Spend Christmas in the Hospital

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas in the hospital, according to the latest statement from government officials.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero has been hospitalized since Dec. 8 for a lung infection and a surgery to remove gallstones.

"Knowledge of the love and support of his people keeps him strong,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement Monday.”Therefore, we urge all South Africans to keep Tata uppermost in their thoughts at every place of worship or entertainment tomorrow on Christmas Day, and throughout the festive season. We also humbly invite all freedom loving people around the world to pray for him. He is an ardent fighter and will recover from this episode with all our support.”

Government officials said Mandela “continues to respond to treatment.”

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