CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Former Bear William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry came to town from his home in South Carolina to catch the last Bears’ game of the 2015 season. However, he ended up in the hospital.
FOX 32 has learned that Perry has been hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial for a bad leg infection since Sunday, and now, The Fridge is in limbo as family members fight over his care.
"We had to tell him you got to do what the doctors say,” brother Willie Perry said.
On Sunday, the ailing Fridge made a triumphant return to Soldier Field where he was saluted by fans during the Bears-Lions game. But when Perry went to Northwestern to get a refill on medications, doctors noticed something seriously wrong.
"His leg is in bad shape. They had to give him an IV, had to give him medication to kill the infection. In order for him to get around, doctor said this hasn't been done, could lose his leg,” Willie Perry said.
FOX 32 talked to The Fridge in his hospital room by phone.
"It was wonderful, great being back and doing things,” Perry said. “Then all of a sudden you're stuck here. You're stuck here and can't go nowhere.”
Perry is frustrated because he was supposed to be released Tuesday afternoon and had a plane ticket to fly home with Willie. But according to family members, that's when Perry’s younger brother and legal guardian, Michael Dean Perry, also a former NFL player, called the hospital from his home in North Carolina and told doctors not to discharge The Fridge.
"Brother is trying to say so and do everything,” Perry said. "I mean I'm 53 years old and I can handle my own business and stuff and everything."
Last year, FOX 32 traveled to South Carolina to report on the rift in the Perry family.
The Fridge is living in a home in an assisted-living community. But some family members say he's not getting the health care he needs, and say he's essentially broke.
Brother Willie Perry told FOX 32 that if he hadn't brought The Fridge to Chicago, it could have been worse.
"We have to look and help him make some good decisions. There's nothing wrong with needing help. If you got to have it, get it. But get it right. Don't get what he's been having the last four, five years,” Willie Perry said.
FOX 32 has been unable to reach Michael Dean Perry for comment, but when we talked to him last year, he accused Willie Perry and other family members of trying to cash in on The Fridge’s name, and said he has tried to give up legal guardianship of the fridge, but the courts won't let him.