George H.W. Bush spokesman in Mandela 'death' gaffe
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A spokesman for former US president George H.W. Bush apologised on Sunday after erroneously issuing a statement of condolence stating that South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela had died.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath later explained that he circulated a prepared statement expressing Mr Bush's sorrow at the "death" of the former South African president after misreading a Washington Post news alert about Mr Mandela's discharge from hospital.
Mr Mandela, 95, had earlier returned to his Johannesburg home on Sunday after spending three months in hospital for a respiratory illness.
"The 41 stmnt sent this morning was the result of my mis-reading the header on the WaPo news flash. Stupid mistake by me. Apologies to all," Mr McGrath wrote on his Twitter account @jgm41. "The mistake was mine and not the Bushes," he added later.