But the doctor later acknowledged the obvious: ‘‘It’s very hard to the balance right (for) a special, special patient.’’
Mandela was a leader in the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa and once he emerged from 27 years in prison in 1990, he won worldwide acclaim for urging reconciliation. He won South Africa’s first truly democratic elections in 1994, serving one five-year term. The Nobel laureate later retired from public life to live in his remote village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.
Mandela disengaged himself from the country’s politics over the last decade but continued campaigning against AIDS. He has grown increasing frail in recent years.
Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.