Johannesburg - Mac Maharaj on Wednesday said he was leaving his position as President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson with mixed feelings, but had learnt that he needed to slow down."I leave with mixed feelings. I am grateful to President Zuma for the opportunity to serve my country," Maharaj said."I also know that at the young age of 80 years I have to learn to slow down a bit."The Presidency announced on Tuesday that Maharaj, who is turning 80 later this month, was retiring.Harold Maloka, deputy director-general in the Government Communication and Information System, will be acting spokesperson from May 2015.SupportMaharaj said he was overwhelmed by the messages of support and goodwill he had received from the public and the media."In the meantime, for those who think my retirement is premature, I am advised that the gatekeeper of hell has taken note and will refuse me entry if I should arrive at the gates."Maharaj was appointed special adviser and spin doctor to Zuma in 2011.For almost five years he has had to explain, clarify and communicate the president's comments and actions.These ranged from the controversy surrounding the more than R200 million spent on Zuma's private home in Nkandla, the landing of a the Gupta plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base, the so-called Spytapes and the call to have corruption charges against him reinstated. Not to mention the president's comments about roads in Malawi and sending teenage moms to Robben Island.