Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday with a long-standing abdominal complaint but relatives and officials said the 93-year-old former South African leader's health is good.
President Jacob Zuma's office announced his hospitalization, but a granddaughter insisted there was nothing to worry about, while the ruling African National Congress called it a planned check-up.
"Madiba has had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention," the presidency said in a statement, using Mandela's affectionate nickname.
Mandela remains a crucial figure in South Africa, beloved for leading the nation from the dark days of white-minority rule to democracy and freedom.
Any health scare sparks national fears as he has become increasingly frail in his later years. His last major public appearance was at the closing ceremony of the football World Cup in July 2010.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told the private eNews channel that Mandela was admitted on Saturday morning and was doing well.
"I can assure you that the former president is in good spirits and well," he said.
Authorities and relatives refused to say where Mandela was hospitalized, appealing for the nation to respect his privacy.
"He had abdominal pains for some time and they decided that he must receive the attention of the specialists so it was not an emergency admission, it was planned," ANC spokesman Keith Khoza told eNews.
"It's a check up, there's no operation involved."
Mandela's oldest granddaughter Ndileka Mandela told AFP that she wasn't worried.
"I don't see it as a big thing. He's in perfect health. When I saw him on Wednesday, he was in good spirits, in perfect health, and, you know, the epitome of health really for a man of his age," she said.
"I'm not worried. I mean grandad rebounded from his illness last year. I don't see any reason why this should be any different."
Mandela was hospitalized early last year for an acute respiratory infection. Since then, he has divided his time between Johannesburg and his rural home village in the Eastern Cape, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) from the country's economic hub.
He returned to Johannesburg last month from the village.
Rumors over Mandela's health flare up periodically on social networking sites.
The whispers inspire outpourings of grief for the national hero who is regarded locally and abroad as an icon who walked out of an apartheid prison to lead the nation into freedom.
In December, a local television station aired archive footage of his January 2011 hospitalization which spurred a series of tweets mistakenly announcing new ill health concerns.
The presidency had to issue an assurance of his health to quell the rumors.
"We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world," Saturday's statement from the presidency said.
"We request that all respect the privacy of Madiba and that of his family during this period."
Mandela was released from 27 years in prison on February 11, 1990, and oversaw South Africa's path to its first democratic vote in 1994 when he was elected its first black president after decades of white-minority rule.
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