File photo: Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown helps Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa out of Ten Downing Street, on August ...
Former South African president Nelson Mandela greets Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the opening of the 12th Non-Aligned Movement summit in Durban on 2 September ...
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat (L) with South African African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela (R) during a session of the 29th OAU (Organisation of African ...
File photo: Nelson Mandela, former South African persident and leader of the African National Congress (ANC), adopts a boxing pose, wearing shorts, t-shirt and boxing ...
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on October 2 in 2006. AP files
Former South Africa's president Nelson Mandela blows the off the candles during his 90th birthday celebrations at his house in Qunu, South Africa, on July ...
A sculpture of former South African president Nelson Mandela, commemorats the 50th anniversary of Mandela's capture by the apartheid police. (AFP file photo)
Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photograph with former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel ...
Former South African president, Nelson Mandela leaves the chapel after attending the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP file photo)
A banner advertising gold coins with the image of former South African president Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg. (AP file photo)
Nearly 15 years ago Nelson Mandela was unperturbed by his own death, telling a dying teenager that he had lived his life to the full.
The video dating from 1998, broadcast by American news channel CBS on Thursday as Mandela remained in critically ill in hospital, showed the towering South African statesman visiting a 15-year-old, also named Nelson.
"Understanding the fact that I'm near the end, I remain optimistic with my morale very high, because I'm saying I have lived my life," the statesman, then 80, told the teen, who was dying of brain cancer.
In the amateur video the boy, his head shaved, smiled shyly from his bed at the peace icon, who wore one of his colourful trademark shirts.
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Posters of cars adorned the wall next to where the then-president sat holding a teacup.
"If your spirit is not optimistic, your morale is not high, medicine is not very effective," the then president said.
The boy died under three months after the visit.
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Broadcast as the 94-year-old nears one month in hospital, the words carry added poignancy.
According to court documents from Mandela family lawyers, filed nine days ago, doctors believed Mandela was in a "permanent vegetative state" and they advised his family to turn off his life support machine.
South Africa's presidency has since said his condition has improved and on Thursday denied he is in a vegetative state.
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