South Africa is praying for Nelson Mandela as the revered peace icon spends a second day in hospital, with calls for the family and the nation to "let him go".
Government officials have given no update on his health since announcing that the frail 94-year-old was taken to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday in a "serious but stable" condition suffering from a lung infection.
South Africans are beginning to come to terms with the mortality of their first black president and father of the "Rainbow Nation", following a string of health scares in recent months.
The Sunday Times newspaper carried a front-page picture of the beloved elder statesman smiling and waving under the headline: "It's time to let him go".
It is the fourth hospital stay since December for the Nobel peace prize laureate, who turns 95 next month, after he was discharged in April following treatment for pneumonia.
Although the government has not identified the hospital treating Mandela, family members were seen leaving a heart clinic in Pretoria where a large media camp is gathered.
"We wish Madiba a speedy recovery, but I think what is important is that his family must release him," Mandela's long-time friend Andrew Mlangeni, 87, told the Sunday Times, using his clan name.
"Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too," said the former apartheid era prisoner, who was jailed for life alongside Mandela in 1964.
Song filled the morning air at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a key flashpoint in the anti-apartheid struggle, as worshippers prayed for their hero.
"I mean Tata is 94. At 94 what do you expect?" said churchgoer Sannie Shezi, 36, using an affectionate term meaning father.
"He lived his life, he worked for us. All we can say is God help him. If things happen they will happen, but we still love him."
While Twitter users expressed sadness over Mandela's latest illness and urged a quick recovery, they were also prepared for the worst.
"Madiba has served us well, a real blessing a definition of a leader but it's time to let him Go. We can't hold on forever," said one tweet.