Officials in Washington and around the world are bracing for the death of longtime civil rights leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is hospitalized again in serious condition for a lung condition. His aides have asked for prayers.
“It looks bad,” said one U.S. official who added: “Washington is keeping a close eye on the former leader and civil rights hero.”
Expectations are that President Obama and possibly former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush would attend a funeral. No travel plans have been made, however.
Mandela, in prison for 27 years before being freed and eventually winning the presidency, has been in a Pretoria hospital since Saturday, his fourth hospital trip for lung ailments. On Saturday, a government spokesman said Mandela’s condition had “deteriorated.” On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said “his condition is unchanged.”