Amazing news ... Peyton Hillis' girlfriend says the former NFL star is off the ventilator and now "on the road to recovery" -- just days after he suffered significant trauma in a swimming accident in Florida.
Singer and actress Angela Cole, who's been dating Hillis since at least 2021, provided the positive update on her social media page late Wednesday night ... writing in a caption on a video of the couple, "Please continue to pray for he's still got a ways ahead of him, but thank you for all of your prayers and love and support thus far. It truly makes all the difference."
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"Today was a good day," she added.
Hillis needed to be helicoptered to a hospital back on Jan. 4, after he reportedly jumped into the ocean on Pensacola Beach in order to save two of his children who were caught in riptides.
The former running back's uncle, Greg Hillis, said in a Facebook post after the accident that Peyton suffered kidney and lung damage in the rescue ... and in the ensuing days, things looked so dire, fans, family and friends actually held a prayer vigil for him in Arkansas.
But, according to Cole, Peyton's now on the mend.
"So proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for family and this incredible hospital," she said.
Peyton -- the cover athlete on the 2012 version of the Madden video game -- played in the NFL from 2008 through 2014, piling up 2,832 rushing yards and 23 rushing TDs.