Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) – South Africans lit candles outside the hospital where anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela lay Wednesday night as an official who had been briefed in detail on his condition reported the former president was on life support.
Considered the founding father of South Africa’s multiracial democracy, the 94-year-old Mandela has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Authorities have described his condition as critical since Sunday, and President Jacob Zuma said earlier Wednesday that Mandela’s condition remained unchanged, South Africa’s national news agency reported.
South African government spokesman Mac Maharaj told CNN that officials are unable to comment on reports that Mandela was on life support, citing doctor-patient confidentiality rules. In a statement issued late Tuesday, the government said Mandela’s doctors “continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort.”