Nelson Mandela 'fine', says ex-wife Winnie

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, is given copies to sign during a celebratory event around the release of her book titled 491 Days in Johannesburg August 8, 2013. Ailing global peace icon Nelso
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, is given copies to sign during a celebratory event around the release of her book titled 491 Days in Johannesburg August 8, 2013. Ailing global peace icon Nelson Mandela, who is receiving treatment at home after spending nearly three months in hospital, is "fine", his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said on Sunday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Ailing global peace icon Nelson Mandela, who is receiving treatment at home after spending nearly three months in hospital, is "fine", his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said on Sunday.

"He is fine, the spirits of Africa, his ancestors, our ancestors are keeping him for all of us," Ms Madikizela-Mandela told SABC public broadcaster in South Africa.

Mandela is receiving intensive care for a respiratory illness at his Johannesburg home where he returned after being discharged on Sept 1.

He had spent 86 days in a Pretoria hospital.

The 95-year-old's condition was described as critical but stable throughout his stay.

In recent weeks, updates about Mandela's health have appeared more positive, with his grandson saying last month that he was sitting up on his bed, doing "much better" and was not completely bed-ridden.

The frail statesman has faced several health scares in recent years amid lung problems that date back to his 27 years in jail.

Mandela is admired for his lifelong sacrifice in fighting the brutal regime of racial segregation installed with apartheid in 1948.

He became South Africa's first black president in 1994, after leading talks that ended white minority rule and put the ruling African National Congress in power.