Giffords' Proud Husband: My Wife Is a Fighter
Mark Kelly speaks at aide's memorial
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2011 3:39 AM CST
Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a memorial service in Tuscon on Jan. 13   (AP Photo/Mamta Popat, Pool)

(Newser) – Gabrielle Giffords is "a fighter" who's "improving every day," said her hopeful astronaut husband in his first public comments since his wife was shot. Mark Kelly spoke to hundreds of mourners gathered at a memorial for Gabriel Zimmerman, the Giffords aide who was killed in the shooting. He said his wife loved Zimmerman "like a younger brother," reports the New York Times. Giffords was inspired by his "idealism, his strength and his warmth," Kelly added.

“I know someday she’ll get to tell you how she felt about Gabe herself,” he said. Giffords' condition was upgraded to "serious" yesterday, as doctors reported cautious signs of improvement and removed her from a ventilator. “The congresswoman continues to do well,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “She is breathing on her own. Yesterday’s procedures were successful and uneventful.”