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Nelson Mandela hospitalized for routine checkup

Nelson Mandela reads an advanced copy of his new book

JOHANNESBURG (CNN) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized again, but officials say it’s only for a routine checkup.

“Doctors are conducting tests and have thus far indicated that there is no reason for any alarm,” according to a statement from the presidential office Saturday.

In January, Mandela completed his recovery from a lung infection and gallstone surgery and gradually returned to his normal routine, officials said at the time.

Mandela, 94, who has not appeared in public since 2010, had continued receiving treatment at his home in Houghton, a suburb of Johannesburg.

Mandela was hospitalized for a lung infection in early December and a week later underwent surgery to remove gallstones. He was discharged from the hospital after a two-week stay.

During the time of apartheid in South Africa, Mandela was convicted of sabotage and was imprisoned for 27 years until 1990.

He and former President F.W. de Klerk, who dismantled apartheid, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. A year later, Mandela became the nation’s first black president.

In November, South Africa issued banknotes bearing Mandela’s picture.

Despite his rare public appearances in recent years, Mandela retains his popularity and is considered a hero of democracy in the nation.

Mandela’s impact has extended far beyond the borders of his own country. After he left office in 1999, he was involved in mediating conflicts from Africa to the Mideast.

Mandela also was treated for an acute respiratory infection in January 2011. The next month he had surgery for an abdominal hernia.

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