WATCH: Dan Gilbert gives first public speech since stroke

Posted at 5:45 AM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 17:19:40-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Eight months after suffering a stroke, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert gave his first public speech Friday.

He was being honored at Crain’s Annual Newsmaker of the Year luncheon as the inaugural member of their Hall of Fame.

During the speech, he made several jokes and stood at the podium.

Crain's editorial team has highlighted Michigan’s biggest newsmakers for more than three decades. This is the first year they are launching a newsmaker Hall of Fame, honoring Dan Gilbert. The public really has been in the dark about how he's doing until Crain’s published Gilbert’s first interview earlier this week.

From Cleveland cavaliers to Quicken Loans and his many other ventures changing the face of Detroit, Dan Gilbert has been an unstoppable force – until the Saturday before Memorial Day when everything came to a halt.

Gilbert: I was like a dead weight, the next day.
Livengood: You just couldn't move at all?
Gilbert: I mean I could move a little bit, but when they transferred me from a chair to a couch or something it felt like it was dead weight

In an exclusive interview with Crain Detroit's Chad Livengood, Gilbert shares details about his eight weeks in a Chicago rehab facility.

Since then, physical therapists have been coming to his house in Detroit every day for hours. His speech doesn’t seem affected but paralysis on his left side has slowed him down.

"Everything is hard, everything! You wake up, getting out of bed is hard, going to the bathroom is hard, sitting down to eat at a table is hard, you name it. You don't get a break. You're like trapped in your own body."

Gilbert returned to work earlier this year, on for two days a week, using a wheelchair and a service dog to get around the office. He says he is proud of the work his team has accomplished in his absence.

"You know we're working with great people everywhere. If this teaches you anything, it teaches you gratitude."