Surfer Sunny Garcia is on the road to recovery after being hospitalized in April.
The 49-year-old athlete, whose real name is Vincent Sennen Garcia, has been candid about his mental health struggles in the past, however his condition since being hospitalized amid a battle with depression has been kept mostly private.
On Monday, though, an update was posted to a GoFundMe page created by friends of the Garcia family, detailing how the surfer is doing.
“A long overdue update on Sunny,” wrote Garcia’s friend and page organizer Janae Twisselman. “We are taking one day at a time and celebrating each little triumph. Sunny is a warrior and fighting everyday 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,” she added.
Twisselman shared in an interview with the Intertia that Garcia is no longer in a coma and is able to move on his own, adding “he’s been working out on a stationary bike, assisted, and he’s definitely able to hear voices and track people and read people’s hands.”
“He’s saying words, he’s not totally audible, but he’s gaining his motor functions, working on physical movements and brain functionality and auditory processes. It’s just a really long recovery road,” she added.
Garcia was hospitalized in late April, just hours after sharing an emotional Instagram post.
“If I told this kid the things he would go through and things he would achieve he would tell me I’m crazy,” he captioned a photo of himself as a teenager, smiling and holding a snow cone. “Wow it’s been a crazy ride since this photo was taken.”
In December 2014, Garcia opened up about his struggles with depression in another Instagram post that included the hashtags “#needhelp” and “#whatswrongwithme.”
“Depression is no joke waking up feeling like you’re ready to take on the world then a couple hours later feeling down on life and wondering what’s wrong with you,” Garcia wrote.
Garcia, a native of Oahu and a legend in the surfing community, picked up the sport when he was just five years old.
After dropping out of high school to focus on surfing, he would earn the Association of Surfing Professionals world championship in 2000 and win the Triple Crown of Surfing — made up of three events off the Hawaiian coast — six different times in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000 and 2004, more than any other surfer in history.
For his many accolades, Garcia was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.