People waited with bated breath for news about Nelson Mandela on Monday after the presidency said his condition was critical.
"The condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical," the presidency said on Sunday night.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon has been in hospital since June 8, fighting a lung infection.
The announcement followed a visit by President Jacob Zuma and African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa who were told by the medical team that Mandela's condition had become critical in the past 24-hours.
They also met Mandela's wife Graca Machel to discuss his condition.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well looked after and is comfortable," Zuma said. "He is in good hands.
Zuma asked that everybody pray for Mandela, his family and the medical team caring for him.
The ANC, which Mandela once led, noted the news "with concern".
"The ANC joins the presidency in calling upon all of us to keep president Mandela, his family and his medical team in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time," it said.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate's condition was soon trending on Twitter.
News crews returned to the hospital and to his home in Houghton to be in place for any updates.
The presidency said Zuma and Ramaphosa had been assured that when the ambulance carrying Mandela broke down, "all care was taken to ensure that his medical condition was not compromised".
He had "expert" medical care, with seven doctors in the convoy and a fully-equipped military ICU (intensive care unit) ambulance with staff and nurses.
The doctors dismissed media reports that Mandela had suffered cardiac arrest.
"There is no truth at all in that report," said Zuma.
Meanwhile, Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela told CNN the family was taking one day at a time.
"All we do every day is take one day at a time and pray to the good Lord," she told CNN.
"All I pray for as a daughter is that the transition is smooth.... He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world. I believe he is at peace."
The family was unsettled by some media reports.
"Nelson Mandela's blood runs through these veins. Our veins. Give us the space to be with our father. Whether these are the last moments with us to be with our dad, or there is still a longer, but they must back off."
CNN reported that she also addressed how much medical treatment her father should receive.
"In our culture, the Tembu culture,... you never release the person unless the person has told you: 'Please my children, my family, release me.' My dad hasn't said that to us.
"So these people who want to talk about, you know, release him: he hasn't said we should release him and we haven't come to the end yet. It is only God who knows the end."