Johannesburg: Ailing Nelson Mandela's wife on Monday thanked people from across the world for their love that helped lighten the ‘burden of anxiety,’ as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon spent his tenth day in hospital.

Graca Machel expressed her gratitude in a statement, saying, "So much love and generosity from South Africans, Africans across the continent and thousands more from across the world, have come our way to lighten the burden of anxiety; bringing us love, comfort and hope.”

Machel said they have felt the closeness of the world and the deepest meaning of strength and peace. On Monday, South African President Jacob Zuma had said that the revered world leader, although still serious, had made "sustained" improvement in health condition and was engaged with his family.

"Over the last two days, although he (Mandela) remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained. He continues to engage with family," Zuma said.

Mandela was admitted at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria after he suffered from a recurrent lung infection. This was his fourth hospitalization since December.

Mandela, one of the world's tallest statesmen, led the movement to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela served as President from 1994 to 1999.

(JPN/Agencies)

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