Mandela's hospitalisation prompted fears for the man who is revered as a symbol of reconciliation and hope [Reuters]
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's former president, has been discharged for treatment at home having suffered an acute respiratory infection, the country's surgeon general has said.
"There is no need to panic or to try to see more in what we are saying. For a 92-year-old, he surprises us on a daily basis on his power of recovery," Vejaynand Ramlaken said on Friday.
"To us he is stable, but will be subject to intense monitoring," he said, adding that Mandela was joking with his wife and nurses before being released.
A convoy of security vehicles and a military ambulance carrying Mandela left the hospital on Friday, taking him to his home in Houghton, Johannesburg..
Kgalema Motlanthe, the country's deputy president, said earlier that the anti-apartheid icon had undergone specialised tests in hospital and that there was no reason to panic over his health.
"Madiba is well," Motlanthe said, referring to Mandela's clan name.
"Medically there is no need to panic. Dr Mandela suffers from [an] ailment common to people of his age, and conditions that have developed over years.
"We may recall that he has suffered from tuberculosis whilst on Robben Island and has had previous respiratory infections," Motlanthe said.
Mandela was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, prompting health fears for the man who led South Africa as its first black president and is revered at home and abroad as a symbol of reconciliation and hope.
The former president has had health problems in the past. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the 1980s while he was jailed and later had an operation to repair damage to his eyes.
In 2001 he was treated for prostate cancer.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years for his fight against apartheid, and became South Africa's first black president in 1994.
He stepped down after serving one term in 1999 and retired from public life in June 2004, just before his 86th birthday.
Since then he has rarely appeared in public and when he did, he appeared increasingly frail.
In addition to the soccer World Cup final in July last year, Mandela appeared at a couple of ANC rallies before general elections in 2009.