JOHANNESBURGO, Sudáfrica (AP) — El ex presidente sudafricano Nelson Mandela —símbolo de la lucha contra el apartheid— fue dado de alta del hospital el miércoles, tras ser tratado por una infección pulmonar y que le extirparan cálculos biliares, anunció la presidencia del país.

Mandela, de 94 años, había estado hospitalizado desde el 8 de diciembre. En los últimos días, las autoridades habían dicho que Mandela mejoraba de salud, pero los médicos le extremaron la atención debido a su avanzada edad.

El portavoz presidencial Mac Maharaj dijo el miércoles por la noche que Mandela va a recibir atención médica en su residencia en el barrio de Houghton, en Johanesburgo, hasta que se recupere plenamente. "Le agradecemos al público y a los medios de prensa por ofrecer sus buenos deseos y por darle a Madiba y a la familia la privacidad necesaria", dijo Maharaj, llamando a Mandela por su nombre de clan.

La declaración pidió que se siga respetando la privacidad de Mandela "para permitir que tenga las mejores condiciones posibles para su recuperación".

David Phetoe, residente de Soweto, reaccionó con gozo al conocer que Mandela había sido dado de alta.

"No siempre resulta que cuando uno tiene grandes expectativas, esas expectativas se cumplan", dijo. "En este caso, decimos en el espíritu de Navidad, que se quede con nosotros por un buen tiempo".

Mandela es respetado en todo el mundo como símbolo de sacrificio y reconciliación, un legado forjado en la lucha contra el apartheid, el sistema de gobierno de la minoría blanca que le mantuvo prisionero durante 27 años.

El laureado con el Nobel de la Paz fue presidente durante cinco años tras las primeras elecciones democráticas en Sudáfrica en 1994. Aunque el país todavía batalla con pobreza y desigualdades, Todos reconocen el papel de Mandela en evitar que el país cayera en el caos de la confrontación racial cuando emergió del apartheid.

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  • A worker passes the home of former president Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Nelson Mandela is spending a thirteenth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Thursday that there is no update on the medical status of the anti-apartheid icon, who was admitted Dec. 8 to a hospital in the capital, Pretoria. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • A woman walks her dogs past the home of former president Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Nelson Mandela is spending a thirteenth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Thursday that there is no update on the medical status of the anti-apartheid icon, who was admitted Dec. 8 to a hospital in the capital, Pretoria. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • People gather near a giant statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill, overlooking the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The 94-year old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is spending a twelfth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

  • People pass the Johannesburg home of former president Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Nelson Mandela is spending a thirteenth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Thursday that there is no update on the medical status of the anti-apartheid icon, who was admitted Dec. 8 to a hospital in the capital, Pretoria. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • A man takes a photo of a giant statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill, overlooking the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The 94-year old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is spending a twelfth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

  • People walk next to a giant statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill, overlooking the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The 94-year old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is spending a twelfth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

  • A giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill, overlooking the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The 94-year old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is spending a twelfth day in a South African hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection and undergoing gallstone surgery.(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-ANC

    A street vendor sells portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) on December 19, 2012 in Bloemfontein. Some 4,500 ANC delegates have gathered to nominate candidates to fill the party's top six positions. Zuma scored a thumping victory in an ANC leadership contest yesterday opening the way for him to lead Africa's largest economy until 2019. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela

    A child passes a souvenir stand selling garments with some bearing portraits of former president Nelson Mandela, left, in the tourist hub of Soweto, South Africa, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, where Mandela once lived. Mandela was hospitalized on Dec. 8, and was diagnosed with a lung infection and has since undergone surgery to remove gallstones. It is unknown when he will be discharged from hospital. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Bambatha Mandela

    In this photo taken Sunday, Dec. 16 2012, Bambatha Mandela, covered in blanket, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, takes part in an initiation ceremony in Qunu, South Africa in a traditional Xhosa rite of passage to manhood. As Mandela remains hospitalized after undergoing surgery and recuperating from a lung infection, the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader missed the return of his grandson from the initiation ceremony. Bambatha Mandela had been in the bush for days for the ukwaluka ceremony of Mandela's Xhosa people, learning about the culture and ultimately undergoing a circumcision carried out by a traditional surgeon. (AP Photo)

  • Nelson Mandela

    A child plays in front of a large portrait of former president Nelson Mandela in a Soweto park Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Nelson Mandela

    Children pass a large portrait of former president Nelson Mandela in a Soweto park Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Nelson Mandela

    A poster with a picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, ahead of the ruling party elective conference where the current President Jacob Zuma will fight for a second term as head of the ruling party. Mandela on Friday, Dec 14 2012 entered the seventh day of a hospital stay for a lung infection as questions grow about where he is receiving treatment. The 94-year-old patriarch of South Africa's democracy has been hospitalized since Saturday, first undergoing tests and later being diagnosed with the ailment. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

  • Worshippers light candles and dedicate prayers at the Rosebank Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denios Farrell)

  • Worshippers light candles and dedicate prayers at the Rosebank Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denios Farrell)

  • Worshippers light candles and dedicate prayers at the Rosebank Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denios Farrell)

  • Worshippers light candles and dedicate prayers at the Rosebank Catholic Church in Johannesburg, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela underwent a successful surgery to remove gallstones Saturday, the nation's presidency said, as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is still recovering from a lung infection. Doctors treating Mandela waited to perform the endoscopic surgery as they wanted to first attend to his lung ailment, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Denios Farrell)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-ANC

    A street vendor sells African National Congress (ANC) flags with portraits depicting former South African President Nelson Mandela prior to the opening of the 53rd National Conference of the ANC on December 16, 2012 in Bloemfontein. South Africa's ruling ANC kicked off what promises to be a contentious five-yearly party conference on December 16, with embattled President Jacob Zuma facing a leadership challenge from his deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. The five day conference, which will go a long way toward deciding who will lead South Africa until the end of the decade. Motlanthe is hoping to wrest control of the party from Zuma. Should he succeed, the ANC's commanding electoral standing means he is almost certain to become the country's next president. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-ANC

    Winnie Mandela, former wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela attends the opening of the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) on December 16, 2012 in Bloemfontein. South Africa's ruling ANC kicked off what promises to be a contentious five-yearly party conference today, with embattled President Jacob Zuma facing a leadership challenge from his deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. The five day conference, which will go a long way toward deciding who will lead South Africa until the end of the decade. Motlanthe is hoping to wrest control of the party from Zuma. Should he succeed, the ANC's commanding electoral standing means he is almost certain to become the country's next president. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nelson Mandela

    FILE - This photo taken Monday Aug. 6, 2012 shows former South African President Nelson Mandela when he met with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, unseen, at his home in Qunu, South Africa. Mandela on Friday, Dec 14 2012 entered the seventh day of a hospital stay for a lung infection as questions grow about where he is receiving treatment. The 94-year-old patriarch of South Africa's democracy has been hospitalized since Saturday, first undergoing tests and later being diagnosed with the ailment. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool, File)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    Soldiers no longer check cars enterning 1 Military Hospital on December 15, 2012 now that the media has found out that former South African President Nelson Mandela is at Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria. Mandela on December 15 underwent a successful procedure to remove gall stones, a week after he was admitted to hospital for a lung infection, the office of the president said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    A woman walks on December 15, 2012 in front of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela is said to be hospitalized. Mandela remained in hospital on December 15, a week after he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection, a government official said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    A family walks on December 15, 2012 in front of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela is said to be hospitalized. Mandela remained in hospital on December 15, a week after he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection, a government official said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    People walk on December 15, 2012 in front of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela is said to be hospitalized. Mandela remained in hospital on December 15, a week after he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection, a government official said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    A woman holds a child on December 15, 2012 in front of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela is said to be hospitalized. Mandela remained in hospital on December 15, a week after he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection, a government official said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    A vegetable garden is seen on December 15, 2012 in front of the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, a private facility in the capital Pretoria, where former South African President Nelson Mandela is said to be hospitalized. Mandela remained in hospital on December 15, a week after he was admitted for treatment for a lung infection, a government official said. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-HEALTH-MANDELA

    A women walks past the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on December 14,2012 where former South African President Nelson Mandela is believed to be recuperating. Hospitalised former statesman Nelson Mandela is 'recuperating' after receiving treatment for a lung infection, South African President Jacob Zuma said on December 13. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-HEALTH-MANDELA

    Women walk past a sign for the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on December 14,2012 where former South African President Nelson Mandela is believed to be recuperating. Hospitalised former statesman Nelson Mandela is 'recuperating' after receiving treatment for a lung infection, South African President Jacob Zuma said on December 13. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    Official cars drive out of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on December 14, 2012 where former South African President Nelson Mandela is believed to be hospitalised. Hospitalised former statesman Nelson Mandela is 'recuperating' after receiving treatment for a lung infection, South African President Jacob Zuma said on December 13. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-HEALTH-MANDELA

    Graca Machel's daughter Josina Machel leaves the house of South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela on December 14, 2012 in Houghton, Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela today faced a seventh day in hospital in Pretoria, where he is undergoing treatment for a lung infection. Officials said the ageing statesman's doctors continued to see progress in his condition, sparking rumours that he could be promptly discharged. On Monday the Minister of Defence confirmed he was being cared for by doctors at the One Military hospital in Pretoria. But amid reports that he has since been moved to the MediClinic Heart Hospital, an AFP reporter at the site witnessed several state security cars entering. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-MANDELA-HEALTH

    A general view of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, that is believed to host former President Nelson Mandela, taken on December 14, 2012 in Pretoria. Nelson Mandela today faced a seventh day in hospital, where he is undergoing treatment for a lung infection. Officials said the ageing statesman's doctors continued to see progress in his condition, sparking rumours that he could be promptly discharged. On Monday the Minister of Defence confirmed he was being cared for by doctors at the One Military hospital in Pretoria. But amid reports that he has since been moved to the MediClinic Heart Hospital, an AFP reporter at the site witnessed several state security cars entering. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-HEALTH-MANDELA

    Journalists wait outside the house of South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela on December 14, 2012 in Houghton, Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela today faced a seventh day in hospital in Pretoria, where he is undergoing treatment for a lung infection. Officials said the ageing statesman's doctors continued to see progress in his condition, sparking rumours that he could be promptly discharged. On Monday the Minister of Defence confirmed he was being cared for by doctors at the One Military hospital in Pretoria. But amid reports that he has since been moved to the MediClinic Heart Hospital, an AFP reporter at the site witnessed several state security cars entering. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-HEALTH-MANDELA

    Vendors in Johannesburg's Alexandra Township walk on December 12, 2012 past a portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela painted on a wall outside a house where Mandela lived many years ago. Mandela has been suffering from a lung infection but is responding to treatment, the government said on December 11, as the ageing statesman faced a fourth night in hospital. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-HEALTH-MANDELA

    A youth passes on December 12, 2012 a portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela painted on a wall in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg outside a house the anti-apartheid hero lived in for many years ago. The government said on December 11 that Mandela was suffering from a lung infection but was responding to treatment as the ageing statesman faced a fourth night in hospital. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-HEALTH-MANDELA

    A minibus passes by the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria on December 12, 2012 where South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela is hospitalised. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero is spending a fifth day in hospital for a recurrent lung infection, a common condition among the elderly, but one which experts warn can turn serious. Mandela is making progress and doctors are happy with his response to treatment, the South African government said today. The former president who led South Africa to democracy in 1994 has a long history of lung problems dating back decades when he contracted tuberculosis while in prison. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A worshipper prays at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, South Africa, prior to early morning Mass, Tuesday, Dec 11 2012. Calls for prayer have been made for former president Nelson Mandela who was admitted to the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria at the weekend. South Africa's presidency says former President Nelson Mandela is suffering from a recurring lung infection and is responding to treatment. The statement Tuesday, Dec. from presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is "receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment." (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • FILE - In this June 17, 2010 file photo, former South African President, Nelson Mandela leaves the chapel after attending the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa's presidency says former President Nelson Mandela is suffering from a recurring lung infection and is responding to treatment. The statement Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 from presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon is "receiving appropriate treatment and he is responding to the treatment." (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool, File)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-HEALTH-MANDELA

    Broadcast vans are parked near the 1 Military Hospital (R) where South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela is hospitalised on December 11, 2012 in Pretoria. Nelson Mandela has a lung infection but is responding to treatment, the South African government said today, as the revered anti-apartheid icon spent his fourth day in hospital. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAFRICA-POLITICS-HEALTH-MANDELA-DISEASE-FILES

    (FILES) A picture taken on February 10, 1995 shows former South African President Nelson Mandela visiting his former cell in notorious Robben Island prison. Respiratory infections are common among elderly people, a medical expert said on December 11, 2012 as the South Africa announced that Nelson Mandela, 94, was being treated for a recurring lung infection.During his incarceration he worked in a limestone quarry for 13 years on Robben Island off the Cape Town coast, which may have affected his health in later life. AFP PHOTO / GUY TILLIM (Photo credit should read GUY TILLIM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nelson Mandela

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 94, at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

  • Nelson Mandela, Zama Dlamini

    In this Thursday July 19, 2012 photo made available by Zenani Mandela Campaign great-granddaughter Zama Dlamini, left, shows former president Nelson Mandela, right, a bracelet to support the "Zenani Mandela Campaign" at Mandela's home in Qunu, South Africa. The global campaign to protect children on the roads has been established in memory of Mandela's great granddaughter, Zenani, who was killed in a car crash aged 13, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup Tournament just over two years ago. (AP Photo/Kevin Joseph-Zenani Mandela Campaign HO)