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Nelson Mandela too weak to speak

SERIOUSLY ILL: Nelson Mandela (PA)

NELSON MANDELA is unable to speak or use facial expressions to communication after tubes were used to clear his lungs, according to family.

The former president of South Africa has been in a serious condition since June when he was admitted to hospital in Pretoria with a lung infection.

Ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told South Africa's Sunday Independent newspaper that the 95-year-old “remains quite ill”.

She said: "He remains very sensitive to any germs, so he has to be kept literally sterile. The bedroom there [at his home] is like an ICU (intensive care unit) ward."

Mandela was discharged from hospital in September but has been receiving round-the-clock care from a team of 22 doctors at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner contracted tuberculosis during his 27 years of imprisonment and since his release in 1990 has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems.

Mandela’s deteriorating health has been a source of much speculation in South Africa, after rumours circulated in the summer that he was ‘close to death’.

A film based on his life, A Long Walk To Freedom starring Idris Elba as a young Mandela, is due to be released in January.

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