Mandela, 94, who has a history of respiratory problems, had a pleural effusion, or fluid in or around the lungs, which had been drained, according to the presidency.
“This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty. He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable,” said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj. His statement was the first suggesting that Mandela had experienced difficulty breathing in recent days.
Earlier updates from South Africa’s presidency said Mandela was in good spirits, responding well, and eating breakfast.
It’s not the first time the government has been slow to report the details around the iconic former South African leader’s illnesses—the details of Mandela’s December hospital visit, which included a serious lung infection and gall stones, were not fully revealed until after he left the hospital. He has remained under constant medical care since his release from the hospital in December.
EDIT: So, anyone notice how Tumblr flipped the order of the title and link on link posts? It’s kind of annoying.