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Relatives Found Of Man Who Woke Up With Amnesia, Speaking Swedish

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A man who who was found unconscious in a Palm Springs motel room and woke up speaking only Swedish has a family, but they hadn't heard from him in 10 years.

On Monday, the Desert Sun located a sister of Michael Boatwright, the amnesiac 61-year-old who has been at the Desert Regional Medical Center since February.

Despite the Florida identification found in his wallet, he has no memory of his life as Boatwright and insisted his name is Johan Ek, the Desert Sun reports.

His sister, Michelle Brewer, spoke to the newspaper from her home in Louisiana, "I haven't talked to him in years. He just disappeared." She said the family had no idea if he was dead or alive.

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"He's always been just a wanderer. Then he'd come back when he needed some money or something from somebody. Then he'd take off again," Brewer told The Desert Sun.

She estimated it's been 10 years since they last spoke. She had no way to reach him when their mother died last year.

Boatwright, whose curious case has made headlines, was overwhelmed by calls on Monday, the newspaper reports. He wanted to thank those who were helping him piece together his story, hospital spokesman Rich Ramhoff said.

He was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room on Palm Canyon Drive at noon on February 28, Lisa Hunt-Vasquez, the social worker assigned to track down next-of-kin told the newspaper.

Authorities speculated he was in town for a tennis tournament since a duffel bag of casual athletic clothes, a backpack and five tennis rackets were found in his hotel room.

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He didn't recognize himself in the mirror when he first awoke, and had to speak through a translator since he now only spoke Swedish.

He was later diagnosed with Transient Global Amnesia in a “fugue state," which usually only lasts a few hours. "It's a pretty scary thing for patients," Dr. Richard Caselli, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix told the Desert Sun. The Mayo Clinic sees about 24-100 cases of it each year, he said. It's characterized by memory loss, "sudden and unplanned travel," and possible adoption of a new identity.

According to the Daily Mail, Boatwright had spent time in Sweden; public records show he'd lived there on and off between 1981 and 2003.