Cissy Houston and Bobby Kristina
Singer Cissy Houston with her granddaughter Bobbi KristinaReuters

Bobbi Kristina's maternal grandmother Cissy Houston may have told the world that she has suffered "irreversible brain damage", but it looks like Bobby Brown is still holding out hope that his daughter will make a full recovery.

The r'n'b star has been spotted smiling after visiting his 22-year-old daughter at the DeKalb Medical facility in Atlanta and discussing her condition with medical staff outside the hospital. After their intense discussion the musician – flagged by family members – embraced a female doctor before lighting up a cigarette.

Earlier in April, Brown stunned fans when he claimed that Bobbi Kristina was "awake" and "watching" him. The New Edition singer said at a concert in Texas: "I can say today: Bobbi is awake. She's watching me."

But in a statement released to People Magazine, Houston clarified that doctors had said there is a strong possibility that Bobbi Kristina will never fully recover from the brain damage.

"I have just returned from visiting my granddaughter Bobbi Kristina in the hospital and while she is no longer in a medically induced coma she has a tracheotomy and according to the doctors she has global and irreversible brain damage and remains unresponsive."

A family source told TMZ: "They have no idea where Bobby Brown is getting his information that Bobbi Kristina is awake, nor do they know why [Brown's sister] Tina said she's awake and no longer on life support."

But his lawyer Christopher Brown insisted that, while the reality star had a long road to recovery, there had been "been improvement".

"Doctors have indicated that she will have a long life," he said in statement on behalf of his client. "However, Bobbi Kristina is presently embarking on a rehabilitation process and the quality of her life will not be known for years to come. We thank everyone that supports Bobbi Kristina and God is hearing our prayers."

It has been previously reported that an optimistic Brown had clashed with Cissy and [Bobbi Kristina's aunt] Pat Houston about his daughter's treatment on a number of occasions.

"This hasn't gotten any easier for him... It has gotten harder. He really thought she'd be better by now, that there would be some change. There hasn't been any sign of improvement since this happened," a source told the Inquisitr.

Bobbi Kristina has remained in hospital since 31 January after she was found unconscious in a bathtub at her home in Roswell, Georgia. Her boyfriend Nick Gordon is believed to have been first on the scene and administered CPR until the ambulance arrived.

The incident happened before the third anniversary of her mother Whitney Houston's death, who died on 11 February 2012 in similar circumstances.