Doctors treating Nelson Mandela have urged his family to consider taking him off a life-support machine, according to newly-released court documents.

The South African civil rights icon has been in hospital in Pretoria since early last month (Jun13) battling a lung infection and recent reports suggested he was being kept alive by a life-support machine after taking a turn for the worse.

Court documents filed as part of a family matter on 26 June (13) have now revealed doctors treating Mandela urged his relatives to consider switching off the machine.

The Certificate of Urgency paperwork, obtained by the Afp this week (beg01Jul13), states, "(Mandela) has taken a turn for the worst and that the Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.... Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability."

The 94 year old has been in a serious condition in hospital for nearly two weeks, and on Thursday (04Jul13), the office of South African President Jacob Zuma reported Mandela's condition remains "critical but stable".