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Robin Gibb awakes from coma; doctors say Bee Gee has a will of iron

April 22, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • Robin Gibb performs on a German television show in 2008.
Robin Gibb performs on a German television show in 2008. (Jan Woitas / EPA )

Robin Gibb has awoken from a nearly two-week-long coma as the former Bee Gees star continues to surprise in his battle with colorectal cancer. 

As The Times reported about a week ago, Gibb was hospitalized -- gravely ill with pneumonia and in a coma -- with his wife, children and brother Barry Gibb standing vigil at his bedside. 

But on Sunday, his family was celebrating. An update on Gibb's Facebook page detailed the latest developments, saying: "The remarkable Robin Gibb has confounded" his doctors "with his indomitable fighting spirit and remarkable physical endurance." The posting included this from Dr. Andrew Thillainayagam:

"The prognosis was very grave, given that Robin had brain swelling from liver failure, a severe pneumonia and a weakened immune system from malnutrition. ... Only three days ago, I warned Robin's wife, Dwin, son, Robin-John, and brother, Barry, that I feared the worst. We felt it was very likely that Robin would succumb to what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles to any form of meaningful recovery."

Gibb, however, overcame "quite incredible odds to get where he is now," the doctor said, adding that he was "fully conscious, lucid and able to speak to his loved ones," as well as breathing on his own.

The Express reported that Gibb, 62, awoke from his coma and spoke his first words, to his son: "Hello, RJ."

Gibbs' doctors credited his "iron will" for the latest upbeat turn in his health crisis. 

In February, he also had been celebrating after what he called a "spectacular" recovery from having a growth removed from his colon and undergoing chemotherapy. At that time, he did not confirm publicly a battle with cancer, but Thillainayagam confirmed Sunday that it was colorectal cancer.

Thillainayagam said, according to the Associated Press, that Gibb caught pneumonia because he'd been weakened by chemotherapy to fight the cancer as well as two operations.  Contracting pneumonia caused him to fall into the coma. 

Gibb remained in intensive care Sunday, "extremely weak and malnourished," the Associated Press quoted Thillainayagam as saying. The doctor added that family members Dwina Gibb, sons Robin-John and Spencer, and daughter Melissa had been "tireless in their determination never to give up" on Gibb.

Gibb had fallen into the coma during the week that his first classical work, "The Titanic Requiem," was debuting in London. Gibb composed the work with son Robin-John to comemmorate the 100th anniversary of the legendary ship's sinking on April 15, 1912.

According to the Express, 28-year-old RJ said that his father would now be working toward attending the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in June.

The BBC reports that Gibb has campaigned for two years to help secure a permanent memorial to commemorate the 55,573 members of the RAF Bomber Command who died during World War II.

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