LUBBOCK, Tex. -- Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe suffered a serious stroke at his daughter's home in Lubbock, Tex., Sunday morning and has lost some of the use of one side of his body, CBS Detroit affiliate WWJ reported.
"The right side of his body is very, very weak," according to his son Murray Howe. He's unable to stand without help. He's able to speak, but very, very difficult to speak. "
The family said that Howe is in good spirits and is showing improvement despite his condition.
"He knows who he is. He knows the people around him. But it is very difficult for him to get up and walk around," said Howe, a doctor in Toledo, Ohio.
Howe, 86, spent 25 seasons from 1946 to 1971 playing winger for the Detroit Red Wings, winning four Stanley Cups and becoming one of its most famous players. He later emerged from retirement to play in the World Hockey Association and eventually the NHL's Hartford Whalers.
Known widely as "Mr. Hockey," Howe set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points - mostly with the Red Wings - that held up until Wayne Gretzky surpassed him in the record book.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
Howe's family released a statement through the Red Wings on Wednesday thanking fans and the public for their support.
"His condition remains guarded, although he is showing some signs of improvement," the statement said. "We acknowledge that there is a long road to recovery ahead, but Dad's spirits are good and his competitive attitude remains strong."