Christopher Reeve showed no signs of illness when he visited Chicago five days before he died.

During a tour and speech at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Reeve talked with patients, saw a walking machine for paralyzed patients and spoke of the need for more aggressive research and therapy.

"He looked healthy," said medical director Dr. Elliot Roth. "He smiled, interacted with patients and was dynamic. We're very surprised by this."

In Chicago, Reeve saw some of the work at the Rehab Institute that's being funded by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. For example, he watched a paralyzed patient use a walking machine called Lokomat. In the computerized device, the patient is supported in a harness while the legs are moved on a treadmill. The Reeve foundation is funding a study to determine whether Lokomat helps patients regain movement.

"He was completely awestruck by it," Roth said. 'We were gratified to show him results of his contribution before he died."