Nonagenarian Nelson Mandela looks on as the cake for his 94th birthday awaits him at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape.
Nelson Mandela was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001.While in prison in the 1980s, he was also diagnosed with tuberculosis. In Jan 2011, he was treated for a serious chest infection. On Dec 11, doctors detected lung infection.
Mandela with longtime friend and trusted aide, professor Jakes Gerwel.
Nelson Mandela enjoying his 89th birthday celebrations at the Nelson Mandela Children`s Fund in Johannesburg.
US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Malia and Sasha, meet former South African President Nelson Mandela, at this home, in Houghton, South Africa.
Nelson Mandela with his wax work model at Madame Tussauds London
Singer Michael Jackson with former South African President Nelson Mandela in Pretoria in 1996.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Mandela during Africa tour.
Bill Clinton celebrating with former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of his upcoming 88th birthday.
Nelson Mandela smiles as he holds the FIFA World Cup trophy, at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg,on May 6, 2010.
Mandela Nelson Mandela talks with former US President Bill Clinton at the closing ceremony of the XIV International AIDS conference in Barcelona, Spain.
West Indian cricket captain Brian Lara presents Nelson Mandela a signed cricket bat during a meeting in Johannesburg.
The Dalai Lama presented President Nelson Mandela with a scarf when they met at the South African parliament in Cape Town, in August 1996.
Nelson Mandela celebrates his 94th birthday with his family in Cape Town.
South African President Nelson Mandela with Princess Diana, in Cape Town, Monday, March 17 1997.
Nelson Mandela addresses the General Assembly about his fight against the Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1990.
Nelson Mandela gestures to the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley, South Africa on Feb 25, 1994. Mandela was on a three-day campaign swing for the April all-race general election, which he went on to win and become the first black president of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela announced in 2004 that he would retire from public life, after which his public appearances became less frequent and most of the time, those were connected to social causes.
After retiring as South African , Mandela went on to support various social causes. He formed Mandela Foundation, a charitable fund that works for the welfare of youth and children in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela while revisiting his prison cell no. 7 on Robben Island in 1994, where he had spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
On his 80th birthday, Mandela married to Graça Machel née Simbine, widow of the former Mozambican president. This was Mandela`s third marriage, prior to which he was married to Winnie Madikizela-Mandel and Evelyn Ntoko Mase.
In 1990, Mr Mandela was released from prison and the ban on ANC was lifted. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with FW de Klerk, then president of South Africa, in December 1993. Next year, South Africa held its first multi-racial election and Mandela was elected its first black president.
Nelson Mandela meets with Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, right, on Sunday, May 20, 1990 in Cairo.
Pope John Paul II shakes hands with Nelson Mandela during a private audience at the Vatican.
Nelson Mandela, then South African President, with Queen Elizabeth II prior to a banquet at London`s Dorchester Hotel in July, 1996.
Nelson Mandela at Rivonia trial of 1963-64 when he along with other ANC leaders, was tried for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. Following which Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Nelson Mandela at the law office he opened in 1952. ANC leader Mandela was a political also a heavyweight boxer with a law degree from the University of Witwatersrand.
Nelson Mandela was born as Rolihlahla Mandela on 18 July 1918 into the Xhosa-speaking Thembu people in a small village in the eastern Cape of South Africa. His father was a respected advisor to the Thembu royal family.
Treason trial in 1956, when Nelson Mandela along with 156 people, was arrested in a raid and accused of treason in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela pictured in about 1950, six years after he founded the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu.
Nelson Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress, pictured in 1961 at age 42. This was three years before 1964 when he was convicted of sabotage and treason and sentenced to life in prison.
South African icon Nelson Mandela is one of the most respected political figures in world, who spearheaded the struggle against the apartheid rule and was instrumental in establishing multi-racial democracy in South Africa.