Former South African President Nelson Mandela was released Wednesday from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon will continue to receive medical care at home.
Mandela had been in the hospital since Dec. 8. In recent days, officials have said he was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age.
Mandela was released Wednesday evening and will receive "home-based high care" at his residence in the Johannesburg neighbourhood of Houghton until he fully recovers, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.
"We thank the public and the media for the good wishes and for according Madiba and the family the necessary privacy," said Maharaj in a statement, using Mandela's clan name, a term of affection. The statement requested that Mandela's privacy continue to be respected "in order to allow for the best possible conditions for full recovery."
David Phetoe, a resident of the Johannesburg township of Soweto, reacted with joy when he heard that Mandela was no longer in a hospital.
"It's not always the case, when people offer great expectations, that those expectations are fulfilled," he said. "In this case, we say in the same tone, in the Christmas mood and in the Christmas season, let him stick around for a while!"
Mandela is revered around the world as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, his legacy forged in the fight against apartheid, the system of white minority rule that imprisoned him for 27 years.