Johannesburg: South Africa`s former president Nelson Mandela who has been hospitalised for two months following a recurring lung infection is now breathing normally, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said Thursday.
She, however, denied reports that Mandela was in a permanent vegetative state and there was no need to conceal the fact, Xinhua reported.
Mandela`s eyes "lit up" when his children came to visit him, Winnie told the British Sky News channel. "That is how he communicates with them."
She appreciated the good job of doctors attending Mandela at the Pretoria hospital which has ensured that the anti-apartheid leader remains "comfortable".
Winnie, however, said some reports related to Mandela`s demise have hurt the family.
"It`s so cruel," she said. "All around us we see people erecting scaffolding, preparing for a funeral. He has been pre-deceased. Do people not think of our emotions?"
"For those of us who know him, who know his strength, it is very hard" to see him lying vulnerable in his hospital bed, she added.
The government said last week that Mandela remained in a critical but stable condition and continued to show signs of sustained improvement.
On Wednesday, Mandela`s wife Graca Machel reportedly told Anglican Bishop Joe Seoka that Mandela was conscious and aware.