Surfing legend Sunny Garcia's family said he's awake from his coma and showing small signs of improvement, including saying his eldest daughter Kaila's name for the first time, after his suicide attempt nearly five months ago.
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Kaila shared an update via Instagram, writing that the family is "taking one day at a time and celebrating each little triumph. Sunny is a warrior and fighting everyday [sic] to get better and stronger. He has said a few words and is now in therapy daily — physical, speech and occupational. The family thanks you for your continued support for Sunny as he continues to heal. It's going to be a marathon not a sprint but we work every day to make sure he is surrounded with love, laughter and ohana."
Garcia family friend Janae Twisselman told KHON2 that Garcia is "definitely showing signs of awareness. With the family members, he's paying attention to voices. He can follow people's faces. He's moving his head. He's speaking a few words."
"When he first started, he was in an induced coma a few months ago, and now we're in a place where he's functioning completely on his — you know for his physical self, his body — on his own," Twisselman explained.
"I think it's just really incredible to watch it, and also, you know, every little improvement is such a major win for [the family]," she said, adding that his family has been at his side through it all. In the rare moments a family member isn't there, they're spreading awareness for suicide prevention.
"They’ve been doing walks and charities recently for Suicide Prevention Month, which obviously hits home, and there’s things that they’re working toward," Twisselman said.
In April, Garcia was admitted to a Portland, Oregon, hospital following a suicide attempt, The World Surf League confirmed to TMZ. Grace, 49, reportedly struggled with depression in the past and even discussed various treatment options publicly with his fans.
The World Surf League said in April that Garcia was in an intensive care unit and that details of his condition were unclear.
One of the most prominent figures in professional during, Garcia has won the Triple Crown of Surfing six times in his career and won the World Surf League's world championship in 2000. He started surfing as a young man growing up in Hawaii and was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Photo credit: Laurent Masurel / Contributor / Getty
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).