Though he remains in critical condition, former South African President Nelson Mandela was discharged from the Pretoria, South Africa hospital he has received treatment in since June, to continue his recovery at home. When the news broke that Mandela left the hospital, the official website of George H.W. Bush mistakenly released a prepared statement on Mandela’s death.
The statement was released after Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, misread the news. After the statement was removed, McGrath tweeted, “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.”
The statement, care of USA Today, reads:
“Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know. As President, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment — setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all. He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country. Barbara and I had great respect for President Mandela, and send our condolences to his family and countrymen.”
Current South African President Jacob Zuma’s office quickly rejected the statement, with a spokesman saying, “It is clearly incorrect. We see it as an error on his side.” Mandela was transferred to his home Sunday (September 1), where Zuma says he will continue to be able to receive intensive care.
Mandela was hospitalized in Pretoria on June 8, due to a lung infection. He is 95 years old.