Alex Witt   |  March 30, 2013

Mandela improving and ‘breathing without difficulty’

The latest statement regarding the health of Nelson Mandela reports signs of improvement. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> >> to south africa for the latest on nelson mandela 's condition, the former south africa president is in the hospital with a lung infection. keir, what are we hearing about the condition of nelson mandela ? first it was dire and now things seemed to have improved?

>> reporter: they really do, good afternoon. he is making steady progress and comfortable and able to breathe without difficulty and that is important what we learned today is that late wednesday when he was rushed from his home here in johannesburg to the hospital, doctors administered a drain from the fluid around his lungs caused by the pneumonia from which he is suffering. he is now they say making improvements but everything they say is carefully worded because of the importance of nelson mandela to this country. while we've been here in the rain we've been watching parents bring their children to the outside of the home, signing and leaving messages on stones outside. so south africans young and old are watching closely to see how nelson mandela is doing.

>> one other thing is the family and how collectively they are gathering around nelson mandela or any insight into his condition, correct?

>> yeah, that's right. close family have been at his bedside. his grandson saying he is sitting up and talking. meanwhile, his former wife winnie, confirming that he is doing well and also thanking president obama for his message of support. she said, the support was important to them and described it as an inspiration and real support for them at a difficult time.

>> keir simmons , thank you.