South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, 93, successfully underwent hernia surgery Saturday, according to a family member, reports CNN.
Earlier, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela was being treated for a “longstanding abdominal complaint.”
“We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world,” Zuma said in a statement.
A government official assured the public that Mandela’s hospital stay was not an emergency.
“People need not panic. This was planned … Mandela has had abdominal pains for sometime,” said Keith Khoza, a spokesman for the ruling African National Congress.
Officials and family declined to name the hospital where the former president was undergoing treatment.
Mandela – affectionately known by his clan name Madiba – last appeared in public in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He was hospitalized last year for treatment of an acute respiratory infection, and continued to receive treatment at home after doctors discharged him.
Despite his rare appearances, Mandela retains his popularity and is considered the founding father and hero of South Africa’s democracy.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of sabotage and attempts to overthrow the government under South Africa’s former apartheid regime.
He was released in 1990 and served as president four years later.