ATLANTA (AP) _ Civil rights icon Joseph Lowery is in an Atlanta hospital because of respiratory problems.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reports that a friend of the 88-year-old says Lowery was admitted to a hospital on Saturday and placed in an intensive care unit as a precaution.

The newspaper reports that Lowery’s friend, David Stokes, says Lowery is doing better and expected to be released from the hospital soon.

A hospital spokesman declined to comment to The Associated Press, and messages left for associates of Lowery were not immediately returned.

Lowery was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as its president from 1977 to 1997. He delivered the benediction at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Pictured above is Joseph Lowery.