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Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 9:33am
Throughout the night, crowds of people stood outside the hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated, and among the balloons, posters and cards early Tuesday were dozens of news crews and broadcast vans.
More than 40 vehicles crowded the parking spaces outside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, the South African Press Association reported. Generators hummed and the area was brightly lit for the news organizations doing regular live broadcasts.
Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela left the hospital Monday night, SAPA reported. Other family members, including ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughters Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa and Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, left earlier in the day.
Government officials paid visits as well.
Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, spends every night at the hospital, where the former president has been since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Previously, authorities had described his condition as serious but stable.
But over the weekend, his health took a turn for the worse, with the South African president's office saying he was in critical condition.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort," President Jacob Zuma told the nation Monday.
The former president's health will not affect U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to the country this week, Zuma said, according to the press association.
Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail over the years and has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.
Outside the hospital Monday, a security wall was awash with get-well cards, balloons, flowers, cards and paintings, the press association reported.