Former South African president Nelson Mandela will be able to spend at least part of the holiday season with his family at home rather than in a hospital room.
The 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was discharged tonight from an undisclosed hospital in the capital city of Pretoria, but will still need to receive medical care at his home in nearby Johannesburg, government officials said.
"He will undergo home-based high care at his Houghton home until he recovers fully," said a statement from the South African Office of the Presidency, referring to the neighborhood where Mandela's home is located.
Mandela was hospitalized Dec. 8 for medical tests that revealed a recurring lung infection and gallstones. It was his longest hospital stay in decades, and concern was growing each day for the revered anti-apartheid hero considered to be the father of the South African democracy.
Government officials have not been willing to release many details about Mandela's treatment or condition.
Current President Jacob Zuma said Mandela was in "good spirits" when he visited him in the hospital on Christmas morning. Earlier in the week, Zuma said Mandela had been in serious condition when first hospitalized, but was responding to treatment and looking better.
Mandela was briefly hospitalized in February for tests to find the source of abdominal pain, but was well enough by this summer to receive visitors, including the Clinton family, at his other home in his rural childhood village called Qunu.
After spending more than 27 years in prison for his fight against a racist, whites-only government, Mandela championed the movement for racial reconciliation in South Africa. Beginning in 1994, he served one 5-year term as the country's first black president.
Mandela has been retired from public life for more than a decade and has spent most of the past year in the remote village of Qunu. There's no word yet on when he might be well enough to return to Qunu.