Former South African president Nelson Mandela waves on Aug. 28, 2007, outside 10 Downing St. in central London.(Photo: Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images)
Former president George H.W. Bush's office mistakenly announced the death of Nelson Mandela on Sunday morning.
"The 41 statment sent this morning was the result of my mis-reading the header on the WaPo news flash. Stupid mistake by me. Apologies to all." Bush's spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Sunday morning.
The statement read: "Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know. As President, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment - setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all. He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country. Barbara and I had great respect for President Mandela, and send our condolences to his family and countrymen."
The South African presidency rejected the statement, saying that Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon, is alive, BNO News reports.
"It is clearly incorrect. We see it as an error on his side," and aren't making a big deal about it, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told BNO, referring to the office of Bush. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.
Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital Sunday while still in critical condition.
He was driven in an ambulance to his Johannesburg home, which has been set up to provide intensive care, South Africa's presidency said.