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South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to the hospital Saturday following an abdominal ailment, the government said.

“Madiba has had a longstanding abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world.”

A government official assured the public that Mandela’s hospital stay was not an emergency and did not involve surgery.

“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.

Medical staff will determine the length of the stay, according to Khoza, who declined to name the hospital the former president is 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, 93, 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.

Mandela relocated to his childhood town of Qunu last year, but moved back to his Johannesburg home earlier this year.

At the time, Zuma said the move was because the home in his boyhood town was undergoing maintenance.

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