Hallandale Beach firefighter says he is grateful for support

Firefighter Erik 'the Hulk' Conde remains at Aventura Hospital

AVENTURA, Fla. – Hallandale Beach firefighter Erik "the Hulk" Conde is making a remarkable recovery at Aventura Hospital and has a message for the South Florida community.

"I just want to thank all my firefighter buddies and friends and family that have given me so much support the last few weeks," he said in a video recorded exclusively for Local 10 News.

Conde, freshly-shaven and smiling, is breathing on his own after being hooked to a ventilator and an external lung machine.

The 42-year-old father of three, who is known for lifting weights and helping others, collapsed at the fire station Dec. 28.

Doctors said Conde went into cardiac arrest and also diagnosed him with bacterial pneumonia in his lungs, according to his wife, Rachel.

But in the last few days, Conde not only opened his eyes, but he is also doing well in physical therapy to rehabilitate his motor skills and balance. Rachel Conde said she hopes he will be out of the intensive care unit by midweek.

"I want to thank you guys again for all the support that you've given me," Conde said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday night, a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses had raised more than $50,000.

"I'm looking forward to being out of here in the next few days and sitting down with friends and having a nice tall glass of beer," Conde said with a smile.

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