Gotti, 60, whose head and neck cancer was first diagnosed in 1998, is in a federal Bureau of Prisons hospital in Springfield, Mo.
Despite his grim condition, family members were being kept behind a Plexiglas barrier when they visited him.
But in the past month, the Gambino crime family boss has had "limited contact" visits in which he is allowed to hug and kiss his wife, his two daughters, his son, and other relatives while prison videotape rolls.
But after their initial greeting, the Mafia icon moves to one side of a conference table, four feet away from his guests, sources said.
At the end of the two-hour sessions, Gotti is again allowed to hug and kiss his relatives before they are escorted from the room, the sources said.
The once-Teflon Don has eaten solid food only sporadically in the past few weeks - a reaction to chemotherapy. He gets his nutrition and medication from a multitude of intravenous tubes.
He spends most of his time in solitary confinement, but contrary to recent press reports, walks under his own power and has not been in a coma, said longtime friend and self-described adopted son, Lewis Kasman.
"He walks on his own free will and meets and greets his visitors," said Kasman, who speaks regularly with Gotti by phone.
"John was never in any coma."
Kasman, who says he spoke with Gotti last Thursday, said the Dapper Don is facing death with equanimity.
Kasman, 44, said prison officials have turned down his repeated requests for a two-hour, noncontact "compassionate visit" with Gotti.
Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Diane Smith said Kasman does not meet the agency's criteria to be included on Gotti's approved visitors list.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.