Conflicting Reports on Mandela's Condition Spread Overnight

False rumors about the ailing anti-apartheid hero also circulated online on Wednesday evening.

Posted: 06/27/2013 08:52 AM EDT
Conflicting Reports on Mandela's Condition Spread Overnight

From inaccurate headlines to overnight improvements, a slew of differing reports on Nelson Mandela’s condition were made in the past 24 hours. The former leader’s medical team informed South African President Zuma on Thursday morning that Mandela’s condition had improved over night.

“He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night,” Zuma said in an official statement. “The medical team continues to do a sterling job.” The president also urged South Africans to pray for their former president, but to continue with their lives as Mandela remained hospitalized.  

President Zuma’s announcement conflicted with an update given on the same day by Mandela’s elder daughter, Makaziwe, in an interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation.

After deferring all medical questions regarding her ailing 94-year-old father to the presidency and his medical team, she confirmed what many South Africans have begun to expect: "Tata is very critical and anything is imminent."

An official informed CNN that Mandela, who has been hospitalized for 20 days now, was placed on life support, but a government spokesman declined to comment on the report, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.

Inaccurate reports alleging that the anti-apartheid hero had passed also circulated on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday evening. An Australian politician, a Dutch city council member and a Twitter user who mistook actor Morgan Freeman for the global icon all shared false rumors of Mandela’s passing.

"It's truly like vultures waiting when the lion has devoured the buffalo, waiting there for the last of the carcass,” Makaziwe told SABC. “That's the image we have as a family.”

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(Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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