Ailing human rights icon Nelson Mandela is expected to be released from hospital after spending five weeks close to death battling a recurring lung infection.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has predicted that Mandela would be going home to continue his recuperation in the coming days.

Mandela's latest health crisis has prompted fans around the world to offer their thoughts and tributes to the former South African leader, who was reportedly placed on life support earlier this month (Jul13).

The most recent official update on his health suggested Mandela was in critical but stable condition.

Mbeki insists Mandela will be at home to celebrate his 95th birthday on Thursday (18Jul13).