(CNN) — News crews and a few well-wishers huddled early Monday on the cold streets outside the Pretoria hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is now in critical condition.
An anxious nation stood in vigil as well.
The South African president’s office said Mandela’s condition had worsened in the past 24 hours, citing his medical team.
He has been hospitalized in Pretoria since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Previously, authorities had described his condition as serious but stable.
“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” President Jacob Zuma said in a written statement, referring to Mandela’s tribal name.
Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail over the years and has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.
Outside the hospital, a security wall was awash with get-well cards, balloons, flowers, cards and paintings, the South African Press Association reported.
‘I believe he is at peace,’ Nelson Mandela’s daughter says