Leslie Cochran's health improved enough to move him out of the hospital and into a private hospice. On one hand that's great news for his legions of friends and fans. Still, he remains critically ill, and moving to hospice care, well... lets not read anything more into that.
He has remained alert and conscious since awaking from a two week coma last week.
"Consciousness, however, is not a sign of improvement in his overall health," said his friend Debbie Russell in an email. "He has challenges beyond his brain injuries, and Leslie is making his own choices right now about his future."
On February 16th Leslie ended up in an ambulance after being found unconscious in a parking lot of South First. His health deteriorated and doctors performed brain surgery, Leslie's fourth in the last three years. After nearly two weeks in a coma, he awoke last week.
Russell says the outpouring of support and prayers has been overwhelming.
"Leslie is visibly pleased when told of all the good wishes people are sending him. He is now surrounded by several 'poster-cards' hung in his room, signed by many Austinites and city leaders (including the Mayor, council, police and fire chiefs) over the past several days."
If comments on CultureMap are any indication, Leslie is the most cared for homeless man in history:
Here's to you Leslie for keeping it weird."
"It was two weeks after I moved here that I met Leslie while checking out Eeyore's Birthday Bash. I always dreaded meeting him in person cause I though he must be nuts, but he shook my hand and we talked about what was going on with politics, school, and the economy. He's one of the strangest people Austin has to offer and I think the most curious thing about him is how not strange he can be."
"Sad to hear the best crossdressing Mayoral candidate Austin has ever had is gravely ill. He gave ATX major personality."
"I used to see Leslie all time in college on 6th. However, I was working at Lucy's in Disguise one fall and he sat right next to me while I was outside on South Congress having lunch. He was really nice and had some good stories to tell. I got a chance to know the guy a little bit and I hope that he recovers and gets the send off that he deserves. The saying "Keep Austin Weird" just seems ironic now, but Leslie was the embodiment of that saying."
"Hey everyone please be sure to keep Leslie in your prayers!"
"Leslie told me the trapper story one time and he's been planning to go back to Colorado for a while now... When I lived on Soco at 2020, he would come by for a beer every night a 10 sharp and hang out with my friends as he moved onward to Trophy's .... Such a good soul that Leslie! In my prayers!"
"PRAYERS GOING TO YOU LESLIE STAY STRONG WE LOVE YA!! GOD BLESS!"
A Facebook page, "Love for Leslie" is posting regular updates and a new website of the same name is adding remembrances and posting auctions for Leslie paintings. BookPeople also continues to collect donations. If you give $10 or more, you get a Leslie Refrigerator Magnet set.
The fundraisers will support Leslie's living expenses. Russell says his medical bills have been covered.