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South African icon Nelson Mandela hospitalized

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela was admitted to a military hospital Saturday for medical tests, though the nation's president told the public there was "no cause for alarm" over the 94-year-old icon's health.

The statement issued by President Jacob Zuma's spokesman said that Mandela was doing well and was receiving medical care "which is consistent for his age." The statement offered no other details.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He later retired from public life to live in his village of Qunu, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

"We wish Madiba all the best," Zuma said in a statement, using Mandela's clan name. "The medical team is assured of our support as they look after and ensure the comfort of our beloved founding president of a free and democratic South Africa."

In February, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. He was hospitalized in January 2011 with a respiratory infection.

While Zuma's statement offered no further details about who would provide medical attention for Mandela, the nation's military largely has taken over caring for the aging leader.

Mac Maharaj, a presidential spokesman, declined to say whether Mandela had been flown by the military to Pretoria. He also declined to say what the tests were for.

"It's quite normal at his age to be going through those tests," Maharaj told The Associated Press.

Mandela's hospitalization comes just days after the crash of a military aircraft flying on an unknown mission near Mandela's rural home in which all 11 onboard were killed.

The plane was flying to a military air base in Mthatha, which is about 17 miles north of Qunu. Military officials declined to say whether those on board had any part in caring for Mandela.

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