A man who woke up in 2003 after getting into a car accident and spending 19 years in a coma has passed away at the age of 57.
A funeral for Terry Wayne Wallis was held on 1 April following his death at Advanced Care Hospital in Searcy, Arkansas on 29 March. Almost four decades earlier, Wallis got in a car accident just six weeks after the birth of his daughter, Amber, and remained in a coma for the following 19 years – the same amount of time Wallis had lived before getting into the accident.
All the while he received care from his mother, Angilee, and family members; his loved ones brought him home on alternate weekends for years, and doctors believe it is this stimulation that helped contribute to him waking up in 2003.
He became known as “The Man Who Slept for 19 Years,” inspiring headlines like “Miracle in Arkansas.”— FUM (@Edirined) April 4, 2022
Wallis is survived by his father, siblings, daughter, and three grandchildren. pic.twitter.com/16VFCpE9rl
Wallis became known in the media as 'The Man Who Slept for 19 Years' after he opened his eyes and, less than a month later, regained his ability to speak.
According to an obituary written by Roller-Coffman Funeral Homes, Wallis enjoyed 'eating anything at anytime', drinking Pepsi and listening to live music. He is described as having loved to tease his sister and having a 'wonderful sense of humour', which will be 'greatly missed by his family'.
Wallis was left a quadriplegic as a result of the car accident, which saw him and another passenger plunge into a creek. The pair were discovered under a bridge the following day, the Associated Press reported at the time, with Wallis's friend having passed away as a result of the crash.
His first word after waking up was 'mum', and before long he was able to say 'anything he want[ed] to say', Stone County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Social Director Alesha Badgley said following Wallis's miraculous awakening.
Angilee Wallis passed away in 2018, but in 2003 she described her son's recovery as a 'miracle', saying: "I couldn’t tell you my first thought, I just fell over on the floor."
Wallis's father, Jerry Wallis, described how it was as if time had stopped for his son when he suffered the accident, saying that when he woke up Wallis initially still believed Ronald Reagan was the president. He said Wallis remembered his grandmother's phone number, something the rest of the family forgot after her passing years earlier, and said his son was 'still back in 1984'.
Wallis is survived by his father, as well as his daughter Amber; grandchildren Victoria Wallis, Blazen Wallis and Arrow Wallis; his siblings, and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
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