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Bill Johnson shows improved signs

Jul 20, 2013, 6:46 AM EDT

Bill Johnson Getty Images
Bill Johnson had “a fairly good day” on Tuesday and “an even better day” on Wednesday after he took himself off life-saving methods Sunday, his mother wrote in an update.

The Gresham (Ore.) Outlook reported even more promising news Thursday.

“He’s all cleaned up and a whole lot happier today,” mother DB Johnson-Cooper told Johnson’s hometown newspaper. “He’s talking with an old friend right now, grinning side to side and having a good time.”

“He has been eating and drinking with little effort,” DB Johnson-Cooper wrote Wednesday.

“The sparkle was in his eyes and his cheeks were rosy. Perhaps removing life saving methods was just the kick he needed to get back on track. He is a fighter and certainly seems to have the will to live. He even did a little flirting with the hospital nurses as they were preparing him to go home. They loved him.”

Johnson, 53, the 1984 Olympic champion in the downhill, was hospitalized on June 29 with a fever and an infection. The infection has attacked all his organs, and doctors have been unable to locate the source of it, his mother wrote.

Johnson chose to have life-saving methods removed from him Sunday.

“He is just getting tired of being hooked up to things,” Johnson-Cooper wrote Sunday.

Johnson became the first U.S. man to capture an Olympic Alpine skiing gold medal when he followed through on a prediction to win the downhill in Sarajevo in 1984.