The experimental use of a medical device to help real-life Superman Christopher Reeve breathe without a ventilator has finally been approved by the FDA.

In 1995, after a horse riding accident Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down. The star’s life hung in the balance while attached to a respirator.

In 2003, Reeve received an implantable device, developed by Synapse Biomedical in Ohio.

The implant electrically stimulated Reeve’s damaged muscles and nerves, allowing him to breathe for a minimum four hours a day without a mechanical ventilator.

Soon Reeve was able to use it for eight hours at a time and was able to last 20 hours straight off the ventilator, allowing him to transcend his tragic accident and resume directing and acting.

Sadly, after developing a bloodstream infection from a bedsore, Chris died in 2004 but not before his ground-breaking work as a human guinea pig allowed the developers to perfect the device.

There’s going to be a lot of former ventilator-dependant patients living a more normal life in the future – thanks to Superman Christopher Reeve.

Check out our: Favorite Movie Super-Hero Poll HERE